Following the release today of weekly NHS winter performance data, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “As we approach the holiday season the pressure on the frontline of healthcare is ever-increasing.
“Figures show a continued week-on-week decline in emergency department performance against the four-hour target with delays across the system.
“We can see in today’s data there is massive stress on the system with overall bed occupancy at 94.5% and nine hospitals showing more than 99% full even on their best days.
“Additionally, these figures don’t show the whole picture as they are “massaged” by including specialist centres, such as children only, which always run at 70%.
“Unfortunately calls from SAM and others have not been heeded and we see a health service staggering into winter with a parliament that has been paralysed for months – if not years – by Brexit debates and party-political agendas.
“If there is a silver lining at present, it is that there is so far no major indication of a more than ‘usual’ amount of influenza or norovirus but, with ward overcrowding, the latter is going to be inevitable at some point.
“As is now the norm, it will require a near superhuman effort to try to keep the system safe for all our patients and maintain dignity and it is simply not fair on hard-pressed staff to subject them to relentless pressure year-on-year while failing to take appropriate action to meet demand.”