NHS pressures ‘far worse than this time last year’ says SAM president

Following the release today (09 December) of the latest NHS performance data which shows last month was one of the busiest on record, with waiting times for hospital treatment and admission from emergency departments hitting record highs across England, Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“The current feeling in Acute Medicine is just how busy it is even without large numbers of people suffering from Covid and there is immense pressure across the whole NHS frontline. 

“Compared to this time last year it feels far worse and the data shows just how tough things are – the workforce is now struggling not only with the relentless workload but also the uncertainty we all feel. 

“Short-term winter planning remains challenging with no easy solutions to mitigate the current pressures the acute care system faces. It is essential that long-term sustainable plans are also developed and delivered. 

“The recent additional £700 million announced by the government to support the NHS over winter is largely ring fenced to sort waiting lists and elective surgery and overlooks the gaping hole in urgent and emergency care provision. 

“What this funding will not do is “magic up” the most important part of the equation – staff. It also doesn’t take into account the dangers of increasing Covid infection and potential hospital admissions and the knock-on effect this would undoubtedly have. 

“Overall staff are extremely tired and low but what we can reassure people about is that we will all continue do our utmost to keep people safe at all times despite the difficult circumstances we face.”