Following the release today of NHS performance data for March, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“These stark figures – including a further drop in A&E performance and 5,000 delayed patient transfers – are the clearest indication yet of the eternal winter we now face in the NHS and this should be a turning point in how we approach all planning from now on.
“As we settle into spring hospitals remain under immense pressure and I am unsure how on earth we are going to catch up with elective surgery given some non-urgent operations continue to be cancelled in parts of the country.
“The fear is patients will feel the effects of this year’s winter for weeks and months to come so there is a desperate need for much earlier winter planning if we are to avoid a repeat of this nightmare.
“We need to see continuous, accurate and timely data on whole system performance, a review of targets and how they are implemented and, most importantly, a rethink on how we are going to cope with future winters.”