‘NHS crisis is only deepening’ – SAM past president

In response to an enquiry from The i Paper regarding pressures on ambulance services, Dr Tim Cooksley, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “The large number of patients waiting over 12 hours in emergency departments reflects a lack of flow throughout hospitals which is at the centre of this issue.

“Older and vulnerable patients are particularly affected by these delays and the issue was somewhat overlooked in the release of performance data on Thursday in light of a small reduction in waiting list numbers.

“This was despite it being up by 5,000 compared to November last year when the NHS entered its worst winter period.

“The gravity of this situation can’t be underestimated. Without flow in the system we will continue to see high numbers of long waits in emergency departments and, as a result, delays in ambulance handovers which means crews are unable to get back on the road quickly.

“As we have said many times before, there will be no sustained elective recovery in the NHS – which will create better flow – without emergency care recovery and, as the evidence continues to show, the crisis is only deepening.”