SAM president reiterates concerns about ”unsustainable” levels of pressure in the NHS

Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, reiterated his concerns about unsustainable levels of pressure in the NHS ahead of the extended bank holiday period (Thursday, 02 June):

“There is certainly concern going into the extended bank holiday period but that is largely because pressures are – and have been for some time – at unsustainable levels, so there is no give in the system.

“There has been no let up in recent weeks and months when NHS teams would hope for a quieter period and a chance to recover.

“We do know lengthy bank holidays usually cause an increase in pressure on the frontline of the NHS as over the period there will be fewer options for alternative and routine care and this presents problems with urgent and acute services already so stretched.

“Additional challenges the bank holiday may bring will just exacerbate what is already an extremely serious situation with an all too familiar picture dominating the NHS landscape, starting with prolonged waits for ambulances and long stays in emergency departments and acute medical units.

“Longer periods for patients in hospitals waiting for social care and increased waiting on elective lists with large numbers of cancellations due to lack of beds epitomise the difficulties and are the new, but unacceptable, normal.

“Despite the best efforts of clinical staff, morale is extremely low as these efforts are not yielding the desired results and the distraction of the jubilee celebrations must not detract from the fact there is an emergency in the NHS.

“This needs recognition, action and support on an urgent basis and it is disappointing the recent Queen’s Speech delivered in the month prior to the Platinum Jubilee showed the absence of any significant plans to recognise the scale of the crisis.”