This winter could be even worse than last year for the NHS - health bosses

Posted On: 
4th September 2017

The NHS may face its worst winter yet if it does not receive an emergency bailout from the Government, hospital bosses have warned.

NHS England has not met its monthly target for A&E waiting times for two years
PA Images

The group, which includes NHS executives, is asking for between £200m and £300m for extra staff and beds.

The Department of Health claimed the NHS is “more prepared” than ever before for this Winter, in part due to an extra £1bn fund given to social care services in order to relieve hospital pressure.

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However figures have revealed waits and shortages are still problematic.

NHS England has not met its monthly target for A&E waiting times for two years, according to health thinktank the Nuffield Trust.

At least 95% of patients are supposed to be seen within four hours of admission, yet in July hospitals met the target just 90.3% of the time.

Meanwhile there were over half a million emergency admissions in July 2017, only the third time the numbers have breached that mark since records began.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: "Last winter the health service came under pressure as never before. This winter could be worse.

"We are in virtually the same position as this time last year.

"Unless we get extra money, patients will be put at greater risk as local trusts won't have the beds and staff they need to meet the extra demand we will face."

"There's a bit of a myth running around that somehow if the NHS could be that bit more efficient or a lot more productive we wouldn't need to put this extra money in.

"Of course we should find more productivity and efficiency, but it's not going to close anything like that size of gap."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "The NHS has prepared for winter more this year than ever before."