Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society of Acute Medicine said: “Like our colleagues in emergency medicine, we welcome the review of the NHS emergency care data by the BMA.
“This confirms what we both have been saying now for some time and shows with clarity the effect that the massive reduction in inpatient bed capacity, along with increasing demand year-on-year has had on our ability to care for acutely unwell people who come to our hospitals relying on the NHS for safe, effective and compassionate care.
“The truly worrying aspect is the decline is happening right through the year without respite and bares out the assertion we made last year that the NHS is in an ‘eternal winter’.
However, everyone should look beyond the figures at what this means for patients. Not only is it long hours spent waiting to be seen in emergency departments but then, if admission to the wards is needed, there can be further delays in conditions so far from ideal they should not be allowed to happen (for example, patients waiting on trolleys in corridors).
“Unfortunately the conditions may not improve in the hard-pressed admission units and wards beyond them who often struggle on sub-optimal staffing levels with extra patients ‘boarded out’ to try to ease pressure on the emergency department.
“Again, like our colleagues, we acknowledge the extra funding but worry it is much less than the amount needed last year to bail out the system and has left little time for it to make a material difference in our communities or our front line hospitals.
“We would again ask the leaders of the NHS and the Secretary of State who is approaching his first winter in charge of the NHS to urgently seek the advice of those working day-after-day on the front line on measures that might help now and over the next three months which must be our current overriding priority.”