The RCP has commented on the latest NHS monthly performance data.
Responding to the latest monthly NHS performance data, Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said:
“It’s clear that NHS pressures are at an unsustainable level. Not only are patients waiting inordinate lengths of time for treatment, but a record number of those well enough to leave hospital – over 14,000 – were still in a hospital bed in the first week of January, often due to a lack of social care. The recent promise of funding for social care from the government is something, but it is another short term fix for problems caused by long term neglect.
“The urgency of the current situation within the NHS requires immediate action. With the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Society for Acute Medicine, we’ve published an urgent update on acute care services, priorities for patients and 10 updated recommendations to hospitals and ICSs, which we sent directly to over 250 medical leaders in the NHS. All of these measures could help to resolve the situation, but we must act swiftly and decisively to ensure that the NHS will remain there for everyone who needs it.
“Staffing shortages are the biggest barrier to cutting waiting lists and delivering high standards of care. The Chancellor committed to publishing a comprehensive workforce plan with independently verified forecasts for the number of doctors, nurses and other professionals that will be needed in 5, 10 and 15 years’ time to meet patients’ needs. If the government is serious about tackling the intolerable pressures staff are currently under, it needs to publish this plan as a priority, and sit down with the unions to listen to doctors and the growing number of healthcare professionals’ concerns about their pay and conditions. There are over 133,000 full-time equivalent NHS vacancies with this number rising. We cannot afford to keep haemorrhaging staff. Our patients deserve better.”