‘Predicted winter crisis is hitting hard’ – SAM immediate past president

In response to an enquiry from The Times on winter pressures and strike action, Dr Tim Cooksley, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “The predicted winter crisis is hitting hard: high levels of flu and COVID are being seen across the country. 

“The pressures throughout the NHS are being vividly illustrated by the current appalling conditions in urgent and emergency care. 

“Patients are experiencing prolonged waits for urgent care, often in corridors with some now being treated in arriving ambulances due to the lack of any capacity to accommodate the patient in hospital.

“The strikes are in no way the fundamental cause of the challenges although the absence of a high skilled and essential part of the workforce adds to the pressures.

“A continuum of often predictable perfect storms has caused a struggling system to reach a state of turmoil. There is no resilience to cope with any excess strain caused by any of the highly predictable “storms”.

“Strikes epitomise the low morale felt by so many frontline NHS workers as they struggle to deliver minimal standards of care. It is a torrid situation for both patients and staff and mitigation measures are desperately needed. Political leaders shouldn’t have waited to be in this situation again.

“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.”