Responding to the latest performance data from NHS England, Dr Denise Langhor, emergency medicine lead at the BMA, and Dr Vishal Sharma, chair of the consultants committee, said:
“It’s appalling that Government is standing by as data shows the NHS reporting consistently record-breaking numbers of people waiting for care and treatment in England. The Government has said that the NHS is under ‘sustainable pressure’ but these figures paint a very different picture – far closer to the truth.
“Today’s data shows we have a health service that is nowhere near sustainable and there are multiple reasons for this. We’re already seeing elective care being cancelled again in some parts of the country, and ambulance services struggling to keep up with demand.
"In emergency departments across the country, people are having to receive care in corridors because there is no space, and this not only creates extremely stressful working conditions for staff, but is also unsafe and results in poorer outcomes for patients. All of this is only set to get worse as we contend with upcoming worst-ever winter pressures, an ever-growing backlog of unmet need, and an inevitable rise in Covid hospitalisations.
“It’s our patients who suffer as a result, and every number in this data represents a person in pain and distress. If Government expects the NHS to survive this winter or to ensure the recovery of elective care, then we need urgent intervention. This winter is already set to threaten the recovery of our health service, but the longer Government waits to act, the less likely it’ll be that we even have an NHS to save.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.