SAM president warns NHS is ‘on its knees’

Following today’s release of NHS England performance data for August 2016, Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“The NHS is on its knees and, this winter, areas will implode around the country. There is no reserve left.

“We coined the phrase eternal winter months ago in relation to increasingly poor performance and this data is clear evidence that is what we are now dealing with.

“Over the coming weeks and months, if we see a major increase in admissions due to flu or bed closures due to norovirus, we will collapse.

“We need honest whole systems data, such as the number of hospitals diverting, capacity-related major incidents, daytime bed occupancy and perverse behaviours such as boarding, to accurately measure just how much pressure the system is under.

“The government has failed to acknowledge or address the scale of the crisis in social care and delayed discharges and, at present, I see no plan of action in place to prevent it derailing the health service.

“If we are unable to discharge patients and release pressure on our emergency departments and acute medical units at the front door, the system grinds to a halt.”

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