Responding to NHS England’s latest winter situation reports, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“This week last year was one of the worst in the bleakest of winters for the NHS and while we haven’t returned to those dark days, we are seeing some local services at full capacity and struggling to cope.
“It is huge credit to the hard work of NHS staff that so many local services are keeping their heads above water in the face of such immense strain. But pressure is mounting, with more demand on ambulance services and more delays on ambulance transfers.
“We know that when temperatures drop the pressure increases and already stretched services will be required to do even more – and that is without the threats brought by major outbreaks of flu and norovirus which could strike at any moment.
“We need to get through this winter while making the changes that will put the NHS onto a more sustainable path. The NHS Long Term Plan’s emphasis on joined-up community care is good news for patients and for frontline staff, who should see some of this intense pressure ease if the plan is implemented well.”