Responding to reports this morning that hospitals in England were told to delay pre-planned operations and routine outpatient appointments until the end of the month due to severe winter pressures, Dr Anthea Mowat, BMA representative body chair, said:
“The NHS is in the grips of another winter crisis, as patients face long delays in care, operations are cancelled and staff find themselves working under extremely difficult circumstances.
“What is happening in our A&Es is symptomatic of pressures across the entire system. Hospitals are at capacity, GP surgeries are full, and a shortage of social and community care means that many patients who no longer need to be in hospital can’t be discharged as there is simply nowhere for them to go.
“Short-term fixes, however well meaning, will only get us so far. Each winter the pressure on the NHS worsens, and politicians are not taking the long-term view needed to ensure the NHS can keep up with rising demand. We have to look again at NHS funding, which remains well below what other comparable European countries spend on healthcare, to ensure the NHS has the staff and the capacity needed to deal with the pressures it faces year in, year out, but which are compounded during the winter months.”
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.
1. The BMA is calling on the UK government to match or exceed the average spend of other comparable European countries on health and social care. This is an area where the UK has been falling short and has been spending less on health as a proportion of GDP than the average of the 10 leading European countries.