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June was the busiest month ever for the NHS

Posted on 12.08.2016
by  Callum

This June was the busiest on record for the NHS, which struggled to cope with rising A&E attendances and emergency admissions, and massive issues discharging patients because there was nowhere for them to go.

Figures from NHS England show that in June there were more than 1.9 million A&E attendances - 2.1% more than in June 2015 – and more than 480,000 emergency admissions - 4.7% more than in June 2015.

Just 90.5% of A&E patients were seen within four hours – well below the 95% target. When a decision to admit was made, 35,300 faced a more than four-hour wait compared to 19,100 in June 2015. A record 84 patients were forced to wait at least 12 hours on a trolley.

NHS hospitals are having difficulty finding beds for new admissions because they are facing huge issues discharging medically fit patients. In June 2016, 6,000 patients experienced delays to their discharge because of lack of onward care leading to the loss of 115,425 bed days lost – 23% more than in June 2015.

Meanwhile the ambulance service missed its target for responding within eight minutes for most serious cases for the 13 month in a row. Just over 69% of ambulances reached patients within eight minutes – the target is 75%.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said: “These figures are the latest in a spate of reports that show our health service is reaching a crisis point from a combination of increasing demand and inadequate resources. Huge efforts locally by doctors and other team members are important but are hampered because the government does not match the rising demand with sufficient investment.”

Bed-blockers, a shortage of beds and a shortage of doctors was leading to delays in admissions and patients being forced to wait on trolleys or admitted to an inappropriate ward, he added.

“We can only get to grips with pressure on A&Es if every part of the system – from our GP surgeries, to hospitals, to community care – is fully supported and working well, and this includes addressing the shortage of A&E staff. We urgently need a long-term strategy for the NHS that will help ease the fundamental workload and funding challenges that are overwhelming our health service,” he said.

Stephen Dalton, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “These figures once again illustrate the strain the NHS is under to maintain timely access to high standards of care in the face of huge financial pressures.

"Our staff on the frontline are working flat out and deserve recognition for the dedication they display day in day out. But unless we break the cycle, performance results will continue to follow this downward trend."

He added: "We now need the Government to incentivise greater coordination between local authorities and the NHS and to invest more in out-of-hospital health and care.”

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