NHS no longer able to deliver on standards, warn bosses
The struggles of the NHS this winter are no secret, especially after being front and centre of the first Prime Minister’s Question of 2018.
Pressure is being placed on the government to increase funding levels to the service to ensure that it can be better prepared in the future to cope with demand on services.
The calls come as figures show that hospitals in England are suffering with a severe shortage in beds; occupancy rates are above the 85% limit, which is considered the highest threshold before shortages are deemed unsafe.
NHS Provider’s Chief Executive, Chris Hopson, wrote a letter to Jeremy Hunt on behalf of the 240 NHS trusts he represents detailing exactly the pressures services are facing: “Despite planning for winter more thoroughly and extensively than before, it hasn’t been sufficient. Rising numbers of flu cases and more respiratory illness have placed intolerable pressures on staff.
“The NHS is no longer able to deliver the constitutional standards to which it is committed. We need to be realistic about what we can provide on the funding available.
“If we continue to run the NHS at close to 100% capacity, day in day out, permanently in the red zone, it’s not surprising that the service can’t cope when we get a high, but entirely predictable, spike in demand.”
It comes after a Labour motion on the government releasing more money for services passed through the Commons without contention by the Conservative government. The motion will require a response from Jeremy Hunt, who has already admitted that further funding will be needed to sustain its services.
The bad news on services just keeps coming, as the pressure begins to take its toll. Oxford Churchill Hospital, for instance, said that due to a fall of 40% in nurse numbers, chemotherapy services may have their dates pushed back.
Before this, both Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt were forced to apologise after hospitals were forced to defer 55,000 operations.
A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care commented on the escalating issues by stating: “We know there is a great deal of pressure in A&E departments and that flu rates are going up, and we are grateful to all NHS staff for their incredible work in challenging circumstances.”
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