Responding to a new report published today by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which looks at the state of healthcare in England, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“It is certainly encouraging to see that the NHS is providing good levels of care for patients, particularly in general practice where we know that GPs are consistently under enormous pressure, but it is worrying that almost 1 in 4 acute hospital services and almost a quarter of mental health services are having their performance affected by lack of resources, system pressures and chronic underfunding.
“Now is not the time to rest on our laurels - A&E targets still aren’t being met, the number of people waiting more than 10 weeks for routine surgery is the highest its been in nine years and waits of a year or more are the second highest since 2012. The average waiting time for a GP appointment has hit two weeks, and many surgeries closed altogether last year. Failures within the social care system are also having a considerable knock-on effect on an already stretched and underfunded NHS. When social care isn’t available, patients experience delays in moving from hospital to appropriate social care settings which damages patient care and places a significant strain on the NHS.
“We are just one bad winter away from another crisis in our health system. The government should urgently bring spending on health in line with other leading European economies and produce a long-term strategy that addresses the fundamental workload and funding challenges that are overwhelming our health service.”
Notes to editors