NHS Faces ‘Worst Ever Winter!’

Marchers on last year's NHS demonstration demanding more funding for the service

THE LATEST ‘catastrophic’ NHS performance figures have sparked fears that the health service is on track for the ‘worst ever’ winter, the BMA doctors’ union warned yesterday.

The BMA press statement said: ‘Today’s NHS catastrophic figures show performance in many key target areas is worse than ever before.’

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul continued: ‘These shocking figures show precisely what the BMA has feared – that the NHS is on a collision course for its worst winter yet. This is a catastrophe for the NHS with autumn figures as bad as any in the depths of winter.

‘A&E wait times are the worst since modern records began, trolley waits the highest they’ve ever been outside of winter, and 4.42 million people waiting for routine operations – the highest number in NHS history.

‘It is unacceptable that in the midst of these pressures senior doctors are being forced to reduce their work or driven out of the health service by the punitive pension system – a problem that could and should be rapidly resolved.

‘The next government must seriously back the NHS in both the short and long term, with more funding, more staff and improved facilities comparable to other European nations.

‘This is completely unfair for patients and staff and the perilous state of the NHS must be urgently addressed,’ Dr Nagpaul concluded.

Also commenting on the publication of NHS England’s monthly performance statistics, Royal College of Nursing Director for England Patricia Marquis said:

‘No politician will want the image of the 2019 general election to be a patient marooned on a trolley in a corridor for 12 hours, but that is exactly the picture highlighted by today’s figures.’

Marquis continued: ‘The number of emergency patients waiting more than four hours for a hospital bed has leapt by over 15,000 just since the previous month, while the number stuck on trolleys for more than 12 hours has increased by 60%.

‘Patients who need to be admitted to hospital from A&E are the very sickest. Nurses repeatedly tell us that providing care is hard enough already, without having to try to treat patients waiting on chairs, on trolleys and in makeshift areas of the hospital.

‘But it’s no surprise that beds can’t be found quickly enough when we currently have 43,000 vacant nurse posts in the NHS, the highest number ever.

‘Today’s figures also reveal the lowest percentage of patients on record being seen or treated within four hours at A&E. What’s worrying is that we haven’t even had any really cold weather in England yet, nor serious flu outbreaks.

‘The picture painted by today’s report shows exactly why all parties seeking to form the next government need to commit to tackling the current nursing workforce shortage urgently, and to invest at least £1 billion in training the next generation of nurses.’

Our NHS needs a proper rescue plan, an urgent injection of money and a real pay rise for workers said the GMB union yesterday.

The union described yesterday’s figures on NHS A&E waiting times as an ‘avoidable tragedy’ caused by 10 years of NHS cuts.