Following the release of NHS performance data for February, Dr Sue Crossland, vice-president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“This winter has had an immense impact on the wellbeing and long term resilience of the core blood of the NHS – its staff – and the true cost of their incredible efforts may not be known for a long time.
“Staff will be tired, worn out and, unless the NHS leadership and management is careful, will feel that all their efforts have not been recognised in any tangible fashion.
“It is ok for leaders to say well done but this has little meaning for the vast majority of those going the extra miles every single shift under huge strain with vacancies rife.
“The efforts made this winter have been immense and so far beyond the ‘normal’ it is incredible – but this cannot go on without major risks to the wellbeing of these people and the safety and quality of patient care.
“While it is laudable for the Prime Minister to acknowledge how hard people are working, we cannot let this hide the massive issues in the NHS this winter has uncovered.
“We cannot let what has happened over the preceding nine weeks become ‘normal’ for the service and it is essential we plan more effectively and much earlier.”