SAM president warns of “massive tension” between elective and urgent care

Speaking today about pressures facing the NHS and the effects on acute medical units, Dr Susan Crossland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “There is massive tension between recovering elective care and carrying on with urgent care during the current surge we are experiencing. 

“The impact of this is significant because it affects beds, diagnostics and critical care with everyone needing scarce resources.

“This is all playing out while Covid-19 remains a significant worry for hospitals as they continue to have to shut bays and wards for infection control.

“One the major concerns we have is that our members are reporting that acute medicine beds – which take the majority of patients admitted from emergency departments – are being filled by patients having planned surgery as hospitals begin to tackle the backlog. 

“Given we are as busy as we have ever been and we are struggling to get our own patients in, it again points to the need for a system-wide NHS solution not pockets of action in just one or two domains. That won’t work.

“On top of all of this we are facing the reality that frontline staff are exhausted and the current extraordinary summer pressure we are seeing is last thing staff need.

“We must see decisive action coming from NHS leaders and the government to present a clear plan to enable the NHS and its dedicated staff to provide safe and timely care whether as an elective or an urgent admission.”