Commenting on current pressures on the NHS (25 October), Dr Nick Scriven, past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“Areas of the NHS are currently experiencing conditions outside of anyone’s experience and this comes hot on the heels of two years of unrelenting pressure.
“The reality will no doubt be more dire than many trusts are letting on as they are often fearful of declaring ‘opel 4’ (highest level) alert due to the punitive consequences.
“Virtually all of our acute units are facing extremely high rates of patients needing a hospital bed but there is also massive pressure due to a lack of capacity as discharge rates from many inpatient areas are simply not keeping pace with the demand.
“Although “Exit block” is a term coined by emergency medicine teams, it is a similar if not greater problem for our acute medical teams looking after people across increasing numbers of disparate ward areas with staffing numbers decimated by illness and exhaustion.”