Following the release of the latest winter sitrep performance data today, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“Although the recent brief window of better than expected weather might have given a slight respite to the hard-pressed urgent care areas in the NHS, figures continue to paint pictures of strain and a system on a knife-edge.
“It is nice but hardly reassuring to see overall occupancy dip just below 95% for four successive days. Worryingly, the longer stay patient numbers seem to be static or slightly worse over the season with currently 5% more patients in beds for more than 21 days than at the start of these weekly seasonal reports.
“Again, it feels as though the official response has been to normalise this by comparing data to last winter. It is, I suppose, reassuring that these figures are no worse than the last crisis but, as anyone who works on the frontline will tell you, pressures are just as great.
“Additionally, after nearly two years of unrelenting pressure there is not much reserve left to cope with anything extra. It is essential we continue to hold senior leaders to account as we deal with this silent crisis.
“This includes trusts putting in “special plans” such as “perfect weeks/months” over the next month which cynics would see as a desperate ploy to boost end of year performance data at the expense of working staff who are already on the limits even harder.”