Responding to the latest weekly performance report from NHS England, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“At the sharp end of the NHS every day, nurses, doctors and other front line staff give brilliant care to millions of patients, but as these figures show all too clearly, many are now struggling to deliver the safe, high-quality care they are desperate to provide.
“The NHS is grateful to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister for their continued commitment to the NHS and we share their ambition for a transformed service by 2030. But we need to be honest about the state of things now, which is not all bad, but also not all good. Importantly, we need to acknowledge that it will take time to turns things around.
“Many of the answers lie in training and recruiting more staff, developing new services in the community, and joining up different parts of the system. None of these can be conjured up overnight.
“For now, most of our members fear this could be the worst winter on record and it does seem likely that things will get tougher for staff and for patients over the next few weeks. Most people are very understanding as staff have to give priority to the most acutely ill, and we should thank them for their patience – in the coming period, we will also need that same quality from our politicians.”