There are concerns that seven interconnected crises will impose a threat to the NHS, with doctors warning MPs to take immediate action.
EveryDoctor, a doctor-led campaign organisation fighting for a better NHS, which represented 1,700 UK doctors and has a network of over 300,000 NHS staff and supporters, have warned MPs today that the NHS may be facing its worst winter crisis on record.
This is due to cost cutting, COVID-19, staff shortages, ambulance response times, a surge in A&E attendance, hospital waiting lists and Social Care staff shortages.
Dr Julia Patterson, EveryDoctor’s Chief Executive, said the NHS should be heavy on MPs and Parliamentarians’ minds and that urgent action from them is needed.
“Thanks to this domino effect of seven separate crises, our wonderful NHS is in danger of completely crumbling this winter”, said Dr Patterson.
Dr Megan Smith, EveryDoctor’s Head of Policy, said each part of the NHS system is dependent on the effectiveness of the next, yet each part is now collapsing.
With more than 605,000 patients having been admitted to hospital with Coronavirus across the UK since the start of the crisis, it is likely for numbers to keep rising, said Dr Smith.
“Staff are at breaking point”, she informed.
EveryDoctor’s spokesperson said that a London-based anaesthetist told the organisation that despite being in the early stages of the winter crisis, patients are already having urgent operations cancelled.
Dr Kath Fielder, a GP, said: “Everyday we see and speak to so many patients all waiting longer than they should for each stage of care.”
An A&E doctor told EveryDoctor of a night where there was a 20 hour wait for a bed.
This A&E doctor said: “We are exhausted, we are frustrated, we are morally injured by what we see everyday. We want to do the best for our patients, but how can we?”
Although winter crises are a regular occurrence for the NHS and funding is provided by the government to help it manage the winter period, EveryDoctor believes these additional funds are never sufficient.
The campaign believes these funds fail to address the underlying causes that are affecting the functionality of the NHS.