NHS staff ‘pretty much running on empty’ – SAM past president

Following the release today (12 August) of the latest NHS performance data, Dr Nick Scriven, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “We are pretty much running on empty after 20 months of unrelenting pressure culminating now in what is really unprecedented demand at this time of year. 

“Staff are stressed and exhausted seeing very little light at the end of any proverbial tunnel as we approach a winter that is already being predicted to be severely challenging.

“Wards are full of very sick people with or without Covid infection and the severity of their illnesses and the subsequent dependency of their needs has made it very hard to discharge them safely if they require any additional social care. 

“We have seen data this week that shows the number of hospital bed days occupied by people who are medically ready to be discharged has been rising and is now higher than in the winter.

“We desperately need a system fix that allows patients to move more efficiently from emergency departments through acute medical units and onto base wards and discharge as that is currently a major problem.

“We have spent years – or decades – and millions of pounds trying to ‘fix the front door’ of hospitals yet it will not improve however much resource you throw at it until the backdoor is sorted – and that means tackling social care provision.”