Safety has been compromised by intolerable conditions in hospitals, doctors say. This warning has been issued in a letter to the Prime Minister signed by 68 senior A&E doctors, spelling out the danger patients are facing this winter.
Hospital bosses have blamed the bed shortages on a lack of money and staff, with NHS providers stating that the NHS requires long-term funding.
These conditions are partly due to the levels of flu that are circulating across the community. Public Health England figures show only medium levels of flu, however they are still causing very high rates of admission to hospital. This is backed by flu rates being the highest they have been since 2011, the year after the pandemic with swine flu.
However this is not an unexpected problem for the NHS, reports suggest the NHS was simply not prepared for winter. An article in September 2017 stated that the NHS is alarmingly unprepared to deal with the surge of people who may fall ill during the cold weather.
Elizabeth Wickson, a solicitor at Medical Accident Group stated that “the delay in patients being seen will have a detrimental impact on the standard of care provided. Non urgent operations have been cancelled, but this does not seem to have helped the situation and in the long run, this is likely to lead to increased pressure on NHS staff and a backlog of patients.”
NHS records show that last week 133 out of the 137 hospital trusts in England had an unsafe number of patients on their wards. The letter from the doctors also stated how more than 120 patients a day are being managed in corridors, which is likely to impact on the standard of care that can be provided.
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