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RCN says King's Fund report proves NHS 'is struggling to cope all year round'

Relentless demand for services is driving up waiting times and exacerbating financial pressures in the NHS according to the latest monitoring report from The King's Fund.
Emergency department

Relentless demand for services is driving up waiting times and exacerbating financial pressures in the NHS according to the latest monitoring report from The King's Fund.

The thinktank found six million patients attended emergency departments in the first quarter of 2016/17 (April-June) an additional 54,000 attendances every month at A&E departments compared to the same time last year.

The number of those patients subsequently admitted to hospital also topped one million which includes an additional 14,200 admissions per month compared to last year.

Other areas of concern highlighted include:

  • 9.7% of patients spent longer than four hours in A&E, the highest level at this time of year since 2003/4.
  • At the end of June, a total of 6,100 patients (22% more than last year) were medically fit to leave hospital but still awaiting discharge the highest number since data collection began.

Relentless demand for services is driving up waiting times and exacerbating financial pressures in the NHS according to the latest monitoring report from The King's Fund.

The thinktank found six million patients attended emergency departments in the first quarter of 2016/17 (April-June) – an additional 54,000 attendances every month at A&E departments compared to the same time last year.

The number of those patients subsequently admitted to hospital also topped one million – which includes an additional 14,200 admissions per month compared to last year.

Other areas of concern highlighted include:

  • 9.7% of patients spent longer than four hours in A&E, the highest level at this time of year since 2003/4.
  • At the end of June, a total of 6,100 patients (22% more than last year) were medically fit to leave hospital but still awaiting discharge – the highest number since data collection began.
  • 3.8 million patients waiting for elective treatment as of June – the highest level since December 2007.

These figures come on the back of NHS Improvement’s own quarterly report showing a full-year net deficit forecast of £644 million if no action is taken.

Pressure cooker NHS

RCN associate director of policy Lara Carmona said of the report: 'The NHS is now struggling to cope all year round. It is a pressure cooker, and with bed occupancy at such constantly high levels and community services stretched, there is nowhere for the pressure to escape to.

'Frontline staff are working hard to deal with these challenges to provide the very best patient care they can.

'The only solution is for the treasury to recognise the scale of the problem, and to support hospitals in dealing with their financial difficulties.'

The King’s Fund report also reveals 77% of trust finance directors believe there is a high risk the NHS will not make the efficiency savings needed to deliver the Five Year Forward View.

Some 71% of those interviewed revealed plans to reduce clinical agency staff in 2016/17 while twice as many clinical commissioning group finance leads (23% compared to 11.5% last year) are forecasting end of year deficits.


Further information

King’s Fund Quarterly Monitoring Report

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