NHS data shows extent of “precarious situation” – SAM past president

Following the release today (08 July) of the latest NHS performance data, Dr Nick Scriven, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“This data shows the extent of the precarious situation the NHS is in – it is worsening yet we are in a position of having to recover everything left behind during the pandemic, rising cases of Covid and new caseloads of patients with developing issues.

“Despite the government’s desire to place all focus on the Covid-19 vaccination programme as the answer to all of the problems in the NHS, it is a smokescreen for the wider damage that has occurred over many years – and that can’t be repaired by tackling Covid alone.

“As we can see, performance is worse in many areas compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019 and we are currently in a period when the NHS would traditionally regroup ahead of the winter. 

“There is no time to regroup, however, and the government needs to focus on how it will enable the NHS to cope against a backdrop of chronic underfunding, reduced bed capacity, staffing crises and a social care system in disarray – along with the pandemic and recovery work.

“Not only do staff have to contend with current pressures and worry about the growing number Covid cases in front of them – despite the vaccine programme – there is also asymptomatic Covid transmission, a long summer in full personal protective equipment and patients suffering from a lack of human contact to deal with.

“We need an acknowledgment from the top that mismanagement has led us to this point and a strong commitment to working with healthcare professionals to properly resource and structure services so we can deliver world-class care in facilities that are up to standard with a full workforce and with the equipment we need to do our jobs effectively.”