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NHS should “re-examine” suspension of non-urgent surgery during winter – SAM president

Following the release today of NHS performance data for August, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “This data shows the system is under more pressure than ever before and, as we move closer to winter, there are grave concerns as to the ability of the NHS to cope.

“The winter plan published this week by NHS Improvement offered little help for those on the frontline, while the recent government announcement of funding for 900 extra beds leaves us 3,100 short of the additional amount required last year.

“Alongside a staffing crisis, this all presents a massive concerm for those in emergency and acute medicine who have worked through two intense winters and six months of unremitting pressure.

“At the end of the worst of the winter pressures earlier this year, we suggested the NHS needed to consider a more formal suspension of non-urgent surgery during the busiest periods and we again say that, although unpopular in some quarters, it needs re-examining.

“Nothing can be worse for a patient than having planned care cancelled at the last minute and only an NHS-wide and mandated reduction in elective operations might avoid this scenario while giving hospitals a chance to cope with urgent care.”

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