SAM president warns of “appalling concoction” of poor performance and no easy short-term fixes as latest NHS data is released 

Commenting on the release today (16 June) on the latest NHS performance data – which shows 73% of patients were seen within four hours in all A&E departments, 60.2% in type 1 departments, more than 19,000 patients waited longer than 12 hours, 439,300 patients have been waiting six weeks or more for a diagnostic test and 6.5 million are waiting to start treatment – Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“There is an appalling concoction of poor performance as demonstrated by the latest figures and an increasing recognition that there are no easy short term fixes. 

“The absence of any quick solutions and the gravity of the current situation emphasises the need more clearly than ever for a sustainable long-term plan that garners the support of patients, clinicians and operational teams.

“Workforce and capacity remain the fundamental tenets that need urgent action and packages that retain current expertise and attract new workers into NHS and social care are essential.

“The current experience for patients with long waits for both emergency and elective care is intolerable and this is causing significant morale injury to clinical and operational staff in NHS and social care who wish to provide high quality care for patients. 

“In the short-term, mitigation measures are required to alleviate the current strains with innovative acute medical support a vital part of this package.

“The current situation is unacceptable and unsustainable for patients and staff. It is essential that the Government urgently commits itself to the long-term solutions.”

SAM is the national representative body for the specialty of acute medicine, which deals with the immediate and early treatment of adult patients with a variety of medical conditions who present to hospital as emergencies.

The specialty receives the majority of patients admitted from A&E and helps maintain the flow of patients through emergency departments to avoid exit block, the term used when patients cannot be moved into a hospital bed.