System under pressure

The NHS is facing unsustainable pressures, with record demand for urgent and emergency care, increasing elective referrals and rising bed occupancy.
An NHS sign in a car park.

NHS leaders in England have warned that the NHS has reached a tipping point, with nearly nine in ten (88 per cent) saying the demands on their organisation are unsustainable. Almost the same number (87 per cent) also say that a lack of staffing in the NHS as a whole is putting patient safety and care at risk.

With pressures at unsustainable levels, we are calling on the government and its national bodies to take four key actions:

  1. Be honest about the size of the challenge facing the NHS
  2. Boost the booster programme
  3. Let local leaders lead
  4. Bolster the social care sector

This section brings together our commentary and analysis on what accounts for the pressures on the NHS, how they are being experienced across the system, and how organisations and staff are rising to the challenge.