Data shows “enormous challenges” facing NHS – SAM president

11 March 2021

Following the release today of the latest NHS performance data, Dr Susan Crossland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “This data shows again the enormous challenges we face now and into the future to recover services while also managing constant demand.

“This week has been manic and flow through acute medical units is suffering due to the necessary infection control measures in place and the effect that has on reducing bed numbers. 

“While Covid cases are dropping, we are still seeing some cases and it is critical that with schools and colleges back we continue with current guidelines regarding the lockdown and its easing.

“Elective work is restarting imminently and this will add to the pressure on already exhausted staff.

“The figures in terms of emergency access are becoming more irrelevant as everyone slips ever further from the four-hour standard but patients can be reassured we are doing everything we can to keep them safe and that, as a result, sometimes things are taking longer than usual.”

Dr Nick Scriven, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said “The pressure on the acute end of hospitals will increase as they move back to trying to restart non-urgent care with wards reverting to elective beds and staff leaving the frontline to go back to normal jobs.

“Rotas which have ensured additional staffing are now being de-escalated and what is particularly worrying for me is that all of this is happening only a few weeks before a four-day Easter break when things could get really tight.

“We could see a crunch point in the coming weeks when these transitions take place against a backdrop of the potential for many people who have not sought treatment over the course of the pandemic now requiring more urgent care and record treatment waiting lists meaning there will be no let-up in pressures on hospitals.”