Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:
‘A&E departments can usually expect some respite during the summer, but today’s statistics show hospitals struggled to cope with the highest ever number of emergency admissions of any August on record.* Health and social care services face a perfect storm of pressures in the coming months.
‘Last week’s spending round may have marked an end to cuts to public services, but failed to deliver the long-term investment needed to address the growing workforce crisis, reverse years of cuts to public health funding, and fix social care. With the new money for next year falling short of the minimum needed to maintain current levels of care, it is hard to see how there won’t be further deterioration against NHS targets, let alone urgently needed improvements in areas such as cancer survival.
‘A no-deal Brexit, which appears increasingly likely, would only exacerbate these pressures, intensifying staffing shortages, driving up demand for hard-pressed services, disrupting supplies of medicines and other necessities, and stretching the public finances which pay for health care.
‘As the weather starts to turn colder, those who work in health and social care are likely to be apprehensive about what is expected to be an exceptionally difficult winter.’
Notes to editors
*Data published by NHS England (https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity/ae-attendances-and-emergency-admissions-2019-20/) show there were 399,953 emergency admissions via A&E in August 2019, 2.8% more than in August 2018 and the highest number in any August since monthly records began in August 2010.
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