Commenting on the latest NHS performance data Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“The record number of patients being cared for by frontline staff in acute and emergency settings again shows the remarkable dedication and resilience of the NHS’s clinical workforce.
“However, the growing burden being placed on the front end of hospitals cannot continue and we need to push for measures to make things more sustainable.
“We have major staff recruitment and retention problems with a significant risk of burn out – particularly in urgent and emergency care.
“Despite colleagues continually going the extra mile hospital capacity is at breaking point.
“Behind the doors of emergency departments and acute medical units, there are whole hospitals under massive stress, with patients being moved to non-specialist wards and a lack of bed availability. Behind the headlines lies an even more worrying story.
“NHS leaders recognise these issues and SAM acknowledges the sensible solutions being proposed to make things better, especially joining up traditional health and social care.
“Unfortunately we cannot wait for solutions to arrive. On a day when we see how remarkable our frontline staff are, we also need to plan for next winter before the wheels finally come off.”