The NHS will face “extreme pressure” in the coming months without the intervention of the new government, health leaders have warned.
In a new letter to the Prime Minister, experts from across the sector called for “urgent action” to address the “considerable” pressure already felt by frontline services.
They said the Prime Minister inherited “an NHS in the most difficult state it has been in for decades” and public satisfaction with the service is “at its lowest in 25 years”.
Health leaders have predicted next winter will be the “busiest on record” for the service.
Demand for frontline assistance is skyrocketing, waiting time standards are deteriorating despite the exceptional efforts of NHS staff, and the winter months appear to be very gloomy and busiest on record.
Matthew Taylor, NHS Confederation
The letter – co-signed by NHS Confederation, NHS Providers, National Voices, the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges and the Richmond Group of Charities – welcomes Liz Truss’s commitment to put the NHS on a solid footing.
It also calls for action in key areas to “mitigate the risks” that the health service is facing “that we expect a worsening in the winter period”.
These include, it is said:
– Workforce intervention, with a record 132,000 vacancies in the NHS in England, which do not include shortages in the GP sector.
– Aid for the social care sector, where 165,000 vacancies are held. The letter states that one in seven patients in hospitals in England are medically fit to be discharged, but cannot be due to a lack of social assistance in the community.
– Increased capital funding to help end the “collapse” of NHS buildings and poor IT services, which are “undermining the quality, safety and efficiency of care”.
– Work to tackle the cost of living crisis which will impact not only patients but also NHS organizations, some of which have reported that they will pay £ 2 million more per month due to rising energy costs.
– Work more with people who use the health service to get the most out of it.
The authors wrote: “Without urgent action on the five priorities above, we risk not supporting the NHS to meet the growing demand, with the demand for general medicine services and the lengthening of waiting times two of the many consequences. “.
Commenting, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The new government has inherited a health and welfare system in its most difficult state for decades.
“The demand for frontline assistance is skyrocketing, waiting time standards are deteriorating despite the exceptional efforts of NHS staff, and the winter months appear to be very bleak and busiest on record.
“The cost of living crisis threatens to have a real and lasting impact on the health and well-being of our communities up and down the country, something that the new government must address urgently.
“The NHS needs an immediate support package, but with over 130,000 vacancies and a real-world cut of funds that could reach £ 9.4 billion this year, there is no quick fix.
“Without further support measures to target investments in capital, labor and social care, our nation’s health and wealth will suffer in the long term.”