‘NHS crisis intensifying but has not reached peak’

Ahead of the latest industrial action by junior doctors, Dr Tim Cooksley, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, provided an update on the current situation across the NHS to The i Paper.

“The sadly anticipated and entirely predictable winter crisis is intensifying but has not yet peaked,” he said. “This will cause significant harm to patients with psychological impacts on staff striving to deliver basic levels of care.

“There is a perfect storm of events around the corner such as the predicted Arctic weather conditions and rising levels of winter respiratory viruses on the background of already overcrowded hospitals with dangerous levels of occupancy. The upcoming junior doctor strikes will add to the pressure but are not in any way the fundamental cause of the problems and evolving crisis.

“Strikes epitomise the low morale felt by so many frontline NHS workers. They are a risk and will exacerbate the current challenges. They must not be accepted as business as usual so it is imperative that a resolution is reached on an urgent basis.

“It is essential the strikes do not join the ever-increasing list of abysmal occurrences in the NHS, such as corridor care and long waits, that are reticently now seen as normal.

“Many other colleagues will continue to strive to provide safe care during these challenging periods and it is essential that people with significant symptoms continue to seek help. We remain committed to improving this situation.”