Commenting on the latest NHS performance data released today by NHS England, Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“The latest NHS performance figures confirm what those of us working on the front line suspected, things are getting worse – and it is particularly concerning that this level of activity is now the norm.
“In October, the Society for Acute Medicine said we faced another bad winter and that the early part of the autumn felt like winter had come early and that was confirmed when the September performance data was released.
“Surely the time has come to ask why are we in this mess and how can we find a solution? NHS England’s view that winter came late this year makes no sense, winter comes around every year and at some point it always bites.
“We cannot continue to measure the problem, roll out the usual excuses and then carry on as we are. The ability to deliver acute medical care is reaching crisis point and any other crisis affecting our society would be acknowledged and addressed.
“The NHS is running out of steam. Inadequate funding, coupled with an irrational and competitive market forces structure, is a recipe for disaster.
“When healthcare professionals make mistakes, we are rightly held to account. In a similar way, those responsible for running the NHS must be accountable. Behind the performance figures lie personal stories.
“A government which has the laudable aim of reducing hospital deaths by 11,000 must recognise overcrowded hospitals that are full of sick patients in overstretched acute medical units will contribute to avoidable deaths.
“All healthcare professionals working at the coalface need to be valued with actions that support their work, as opposed to weasel words and soundbites. All we want to do is care for patients. There are no more efficiencies to be made and we must now start to invest in care again to bring us on par with other developed nations.
“Is it right that the cold wind of the last recession is still being used an excuse to inadequately fund our health service? If the cold wind continues to blow, can our NHS ever leave its eternal winter?”