Excess winter deaths report highlights pressures on the NHS

Following a report released today by the Office for National Statistics which shows there were more than 50,000 excess deaths in England and Wales over winter in 2017/18,
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“This is an extremely large increase in the number of deaths over the winter period and raises concerns with regards to the persistent winter problems we are encountering across the NHS on an annual basis now.

“In 2016, we coined the phrase ‘eternal winter’ as a result of sustained pressure throughout the year which, by the time winter actually hits, leaves hospitals struggling to cope having been maxed out all year round.

“We have an older, frailer population with increasingly complex medical problems, a lack of funding across health and social care to meet demand, a recruitment crisis and persistently poor performance.

“Although the influenza outbreak did cause deaths, it cannot be the single factor to explain this figure of more than 50,000 and a rise of approximately 15,000 compared to the year before.

“Ultimately, despite reassurances from the government and NHS leaders that enough funding has been made available and the service is coping with the additional demands placed on it, the reality is clearly different given these statistics.”

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