The King’s Fund responds to the latest emergency care situation reports and estates data

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Responding to the latest NHS Urgent and Emergency Care Daily Situation Report data and Estates Returns Information Collection, Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund, said:

‘The NHS is already under unprecedented pressure, but unfortunately the worst is yet to come. In some parts of the country – particularly London – hospitals are already operating at near full capacity even as the demand for care continues to mount. Social distancing measures on wards and the numbers of staff who are ill or self-isolating is making it harder than normal for the NHS to cope with high demand.

‘Even before the pandemic, the NHS was in the midst of a staffing crisis and having to make do with poorly-maintained buildings. In the last financial year, the maintenance backlog rocketed by 40 per cent to £9 billion and the poor condition of buildings and equipment led to nearly 6,000 cases where clinical services for patients were delayed or interfered with. 

‘This is a symptom of the wider under-investment in health over the past decade, which has seen the NHS going into the pandemic with 100,000 staff vacancies and deteriorating facilities and equipment. Pre-pandemic, the government focused on eye-catching promises to build new hospitals. But this data shows that as the NHS begins to rebuild, it desperately needs certainty on the funding it will have to fill the maintenance backlog and tackle long-term staff shortages.’

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.