A senior NHS chief says most of the health service is under “unbearable strain” as pressure mounts on the government to take action.
Matthew Taylor, head of the NHS Confederation, told Sky News: “I speak to NHS leaders every day and many if not most of them say this is the harshest winter they have faced. We can not go on”. I like this.”
The chief executive, who represents NHS trusts and healthcare leaders, added: “Most parts of the healthcare service are under unbearable strain and that means we can’t deliver service as usual.
“We have to focus all our energies on the most urgent and intense needs, and that is why you are seeing the declaration of critical incidents in so many places.”
Six hospital trusts are understood to have critical incidents in place.
The Liberal Democrats have called for parliament to be withdrawn due to mounting winter pressures.
The party demands that the government approve an emergency health plan and declare a “major national incident.”
A leading doctor has said that the pressure on the NHS is worse now than at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, told Sky News “urgent action” is required to bring the NHS back to the brink.
“There has never been a greater recognition among all staff that our current situation is worse than ever,” he said.
“And I know that people who look at this will say, ‘Well, every winter there are doctors who say that this winter is terrible, that these are normal winter pressures.’
“But now all colleagues fully accept that this is different from all the previous winters, and we need urgent action now.”
He added: “This situation is much worse than what we experienced under the COVID pandemic at its height.
“So we need to think carefully about how we can handle this and I think we need some urgent action.”
Which hospital trusts are dealing with critical incidents?
Sky News understands that at least six hospital trusts are currently dealing with critical incidents, meaning they are unable to function as usual due to extraordinary pressure.
These critical incidents cover Derbyshire, Nottingham, Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Buckinghamshire and Staffordshire.
And at least 55 NHS trusts have publicly stated that they are struggling to cope with the demand for their services.
The most recent data from NHS England shows that on Christmas Day, more than one in seven people experienced delays of more than an hour, almost 10 times as many as in 2021 and 17 times as many as in 2020.
For the week ending December 25, the average number of people hospitalized for more than three weeks was nearly a quarter higher (23%) than in 2021 and 60% higher than in 2020.
The number of people in the hospital for more than a week was 14% higher than in 2021 and 30% higher than in 2020.
The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Adrian Boyle, said on New Year’s Day that between 300 to 500 people die every week due to delays in emergency care.
He added that a severe outbreak of flu, compounded by a lack of immunity in people due to COVID isolation measures, has meant that bed occupancy is at a record level.
nurses too They went on strike over a dispute over wages and conditions over two days in December just like the paramedicsand the British Medical Association said it will vote for young doctors this month.
Government minister Robert Halfon acknowledged the pressures facing the health system but told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is absolutely clear to me that the prime minister treats this as a top priority.
“We are increasing NHS capacity by the equivalent of 7,000 beds, spending an additional £500m to speed up hospital discharge and improve capacity.”
The education minister conceded that more needs to be done, but defended the government’s response.
“The government is putting a lot of funds and doing everything possible,” he added.
“We know of course that many of these problems have been caused by the pandemic and the pressures on the NHS that we have seen in recent years.”
A Health Department spokesman said Health Secretary Steve Barclay is keeping up with developments.
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