Responding to news from NHS England that some Emergency Departments saw the busiest Monday of the year so far, Rory Deighton director of the NHS Confederation's acute network, said:
“Emergency Departments experiencing their busiest Monday of the year so far should be a clear reminder ahead of the budget of just how much pressure the system is under.
“Despite industrial action, our members are keen for the public to continue to use services responsibly but also to not be put off from coming forward if they need care or treatment. Those needing urgent care should first go online or call 111, or if it is a medical emergency call 999. Patients who haven’t been contacted about their appointments needing to be rescheduled should still attend their appointment as planned.
“The health service has been struggling to meet demand, even without the added issue of industrial action, and health leaders will be concerned about their ability to get waiting lists down while operating within current constraints.
“While the NHS is working hard to keep patients safe during the latest round of industrial action, there needs to be recognition that these strikes will continue to hamper elective and diagnostic recovery plans until a resolution can be found.
“There are still 124,000 vacancies, a £10.2bn maintenance backlog and huge gaps in social care provision, all of which must be addressed; the Chancellor has the opportunity tomorrow to begin to do so.”