‘Figures indicative of anticipated and entirely predictable winter crisis’

Following the release today (22 February) of the latest weekly NHS performance data, Dr Tim Cooksley, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “These latest figures are indicative of the anticipated and entirely predictable winter crisis which continues to intensify and, as we have warned previously, has not yet peaked.

“The increasing number of hospital admissions is a significant concern and this trend means we will continue to see hospitals fall into critical incidents – this is, very sadly, the new normal.

“This data comes prior to the next period of industrial action and it is important to reiterate that while strikes add to the pressures, they are not in any way the fundamental cause of the problems and crisis we are seeing in healthcare systems across the UK. 

“While it is imperative that a resolution to the current dispute is reached urgently, the stark reality remains that there is insufficient workforce and capacity to meet demand and there is simply no resilience to cope with any excess strain – the likes of which we are seeing routinely. 

“This was the case prior to the pandemic and has worsened in the time since, with a failure to address the root causes effectively enough.

“Patients and staff will continue to be gravely impacted by the crisis we are seeing and, worryingly, some people who need urgent treatment may delay seeking care or present late.”