Responding to today’s monthly NHS performance figures, Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“Despite the best efforts of our over-stretched staff, the NHS is entering winter in a much worse condition than we would have hoped. We’re facing a perfect storm of rapidly rising demand, major staff shortages and the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit. We need to do all we can to ensure the relentless pressure on staff is somehow eased.
“These latest figures show committed teams struggling to deliver what they know their patients need. Demand for A&E is at a record high – an increase in A&E attendances of more than 20 per cent compared to when records began and 7 per cent more than this time last year. And waiting times are lengthening - 76,000 fewer patients were seen within four hours in September 2019 than the first records from September 2011.
“We must be prepared for how long it will take to turn this situation around. After a decade of austerity and relentless rising demand, the NHS was never going to recover performance within a matter of months following the new money that kicked in this April. This is a long-term project and we need to support leaders and their staff to make the necessary changes to put the NHS on a more sustainable pathway.
“The good news is that we have the right long-term plan in place and the direction of travel is the right one. But we remain concerned about the continuing impact of major staff shortages and uncertainty over our future relationship with the EU. If a no-deal Brexit is the most likely outcome, then we must ensure that patients are safe and protected and that essential health care supplies will continue to flow freely.”