Responding to the publication of the NHS performance statistics, Tim Gardner, senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation, said:
‘As we head into the most difficult time of year for the NHS, today’s statistics show health services are already under severe strain. This year, the usual winter pressures will be compounded by the ongoing cost of living crisis that poses a real threat to people’s physical and mental health.
‘In October 2022, over 1 in 10 people with a serious condition such as a stroke or chest pain waited over two hours for an ambulance. So far in 2022, 255,338 people spent more than 12 hours on trolleys in emergency departments waiting for a hospital bed – over three times as many in just ten months as in the preceding ten years combined.
‘These pressures are symptoms of the system-wide challenges facing health and social care services. Delays in discharging patients due to chronic workforce shortages and lack of bed capacity in health and social care cause long waits at the hospital front door.
‘A fully funded workforce plan to ensure health and social care services have the staff they need is key to breaking this vicious cycle and improving performance. While the pressures on the health and care system show no sign of easing ahead of the Autumn Statement, the nation’s health depends on a wider system of services and support, like housing and social security, which the government can’t afford to overlook’.