In response to NHS England’s latest winter situation report, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“These figures are welcome, but they don’t tell the whole story. The fact we are doing better now is the result of meticulous planning and staff going the extra mile, but the reality is still that at the front line, staff are being pushed to the limit.
“That’s what it means to be working at the front line at the moment and it has been for several years.
“Patients will be reassured the NHS is holding its own despite the inevitable pressures from plummeting temperatures. However, the NHS is struggling with ambulances being delayed, A&E departments having to divert patients to other hospitals, and bed occupancy at unsafe levels. We are seeing regional variations across the system, with hospitals in the Midlands under the most strain from winter pressures.
“The hard work and detailed winter planning from NHS staff is paying off but we must remember that worse weather or major outbreaks of flu and norovirus could strike at any moment.
“All of this points to the need to find a more sustainable way of providing care to a growing and ageing population. The new NHS Long Term Plan, with its emphasis on joined-up community care, is a major step forward and will help improve patient care and relieve pressure on staff at the frontline.”
Notes to editors:
- The NHS Confederation represents 85 per cent of NHS providers and commissioners. The organisation has nearly 500 members across health and social care, including hospitals, community and mental health providers, ambulance trusts and independent sector organisations providing NHS care. It is a membership body that brings together and speaks on behalf of the whole NHS.
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