'The NHS is now under the most extreme pressure seen in recent history': 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 monthly hospital activity data Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund, said:

‘Today’s figures show that the NHS is now under the most extreme pressure seen in recent history and is battling on multiple fronts. Staff are exhausted, wards are overflowing and patients face long waits for routine and emergency care, with many procedures being cancelled or postponed.

‘Despite staff doing their best under incredibly difficult circumstances, waits for routine care have rapidly ballooned, with 192,000 people waiting over a year for care compared to just 1,400 this time last year. But this is only part of the problem. Last week, more than 3,700 patients had to wait 12 hours or more in A&E before being admitted to hospital – the highest number since current records began, and even urgent operations are being cancelled in some parts of the country.

‘GPs are seeing high numbers of patients at a time when they are also working flat out to deliver a monumental vaccination programme.

‘Staff are going the extra mile, putting themselves under mental and physical strain. Vaccines will provide some relief but one of the lessons that must be learned is that the goodwill and hard work of frontline staff is not enough to overcome long-standing staff shortages and reduce waiting times which were rising well before the pandemic struck. Once the pandemic is under control, there is an urgent need for the government to deliver on its manifesto commitments by publishing a long-term plan to grow and support the health care workforce backed by the money.’

Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 07584 146035 or mediaoffice@kingsfund.org.uk.

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.