Responding to the latest accident and emergency figures published by NHS England today which show that just 88.9 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in A&E departments in November, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“The four-hour A&E waiting times are the lowest seen since February which shows a service under huge pressure with little or no spare capacity.
“Front-line staff are working harder than ever but the system is struggling to cope with the number of patients coming through the hospital door, and the entire system becomes congested.
“The concern is that if there is an outbreak of flu, for example, a lack of capacity in the system will leave hospitals unable to cope with a spike in demand.
“There will always be winter pressures but we must create a health service that is robust enough to react to the inevitable. While the additional funding for this winter announced in the budget is welcome, it fell short of what the NHS actually needs, with the UK continuing to be under- resourced compared to equivalent European nations. We can only get to grips with pressure on A&E if every part of the system – from general practice to social care – is adequately funded, supported and working well.”
Notes to editors
The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical, professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.