In response to the BMA’s report, NHS Pressures – Winter 2018/19; A Hidden Crisis, Nick Ville, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said:
“Hospitals and other NHS services have worked tirelessly this winter in the face of relentless increases in demand. Rising A&E attendances this winter were six per cent higher than the record-breaking numbers we saw last year. Emergency admissions were also up 96,000 on last year to 1.62 million.
“Under this pressure, it’s little surprise we saw in February this year the worse deterioration against the four-hour A&E target on record.
“The BMA is right to draw attention to the winter crisis and its effects on patients - and staff morale. We need to take a step back to understand why this winter has been so challenging and look at the ways we can relieve pressure on the NHS.
“Part of the solution will undoubtedly lie in implementing the NHS’s Long Term Plan, directing more investment towards primary, community and social care services and working at pace to join up local health and care services to provide new ways of care.
“But we will still need capital investment for hospitals in the comprehensive spending review, to improve infrastructure to better manage increasing demand and we will need to address the workforce challenges facing the NHS, which come to the fore at winter.”