Responding to the publication today by NHS England of the NHS performance statistics, senior fellow Tim Gardner, said:
‘Today’s figures are not normal for this time of year, when the warmer spring weather usually brings an easing of pressure on the NHS.
‘The continued pressure on urgent and emergency care services is simply not safe or sustainable. More than 24,000 people spent over 12 hours in A&E waiting for a hospital bed in April, the highest number ever, and even patients with life-threatening conditions are waiting far too long for ambulances.
‘While the waiting list for routine hospital care has reached a record high of 6.4 million, the NHS deserves considerable credit for continuing to deliver high volumes of elective and cancer care despite the constraints on hospital capacity.
‘The government has published an elective care recovery plan, but bolder action is still needed to secure the nation's healthy recovery from the pandemic. Easing the strain on emergency care and tackling the ever-growing backlog of unmet need depends on having enough staff across all parts of the health and care system. Yet despite vacancies in the NHS of around 110,000, the government still has not produced a fully funded workforce plan for the NHS – this needs to be an urgent priority for this parliament.’