Responding to NHS England A&E performance figures for November and the first weekly figures for winter1, Dr Helen Fidler, BMA consultants committee deputy chair, said:
“We are at the very beginning of winter and yet hospitals in England are already feeling the pressure, with demand reaching a record high for November as more patients attend and are admitted to A&E. Despite the milder weather, the number of patients waiting in hospital corridors on trolleys this year has already exceeded the total in 2017 – with the situation only set to get worse in the coming month.
“On top of this, November saw the number of patients discharged, admitted or transferred within four hours fall to 87.6 per cent – a record low for the month.
“Last week we warned that 10,000 extra beds will be needed to guarantee safe care this winter2, and with bed occupancy rates already topping safe levels, these latest stats should set alarm bells ringing for the Government and health chiefs.
“Every year doctors are clear in their warnings about what to expect from winter, yet we see no progress. The system is under-resourced and under-staffed, and both patients and health workers are bearing the brunt.
“As politicians remain pre-occupied with internal politics and the mess that is Brexit, those working and being cared for on the frontline of our NHS are suffering because of a lack of action.
“And while we continue to wait to hear from the Government on how the promised £20bn a year will be spent in the NHS, there is an urgent need to address these issues now so that patients get the care they need this winter.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union 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.
1. Full figures are available here.
2. Find our winter beds report here.
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