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BMA Warns ‘Year-Round Crisis Set to be the Norm’

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that the NHS is in a year-round crisis, which requires the next government to immediately rise NHS funding to the levels seen in Germany, France and other similar states.

According to the BMA's analysis of the NHS in England, waits at A&E, Bed occupancy and delayed transfers of care were all found to be increasing, with patients waiting longer for ambulances, treatment and admission.

The BMA says that the National Health Service (NHS) in England is now 'unlikely to recover from the pressure it faces during the winter', with key performance targets continuing to slip.

Here are listed latest findings from the BMA.

  • The bed occupancy on general and acute wards was 91.4 per cent in the first three month of this year. It is the highest figure recorded.
  • At the end of the year, the mental health bed occupancy was 89.7 per cent.
  • In 2016/17, the number of trolley waits also increased dramatically. Around 290,000 patients waited at least four hours to be admitted. It is an increase of almost 70,000 on the previous year.
  • Almost a fifth of patients waited over four hours to be seen at major A&Es, between November 2016 and March 2017.
  • 94 of 152 NHS Foundation Trusts issued major alerts on at least one day between December 2016 and the middle of March 2017 to say they could not cope.

In the run-up to the general election, the BMA is calling the next government to Prioritises career-long training; invests in workforce to better retain doctors and Halts the repeated breaches on safe bed occupancy levels.

The chairman of the BMA council, Dr Mark Porter, said that the hospitals had “endured one of the worst winters on record”.

He said the pressure the NHS is under is purely down to bad political choices, with years of chronic under-funding and investment in services failing to keep up with patient demand.

He further added that previously, the pressure on the NHS was only seen in the winter months but now it is becoming the norm year-round, as current trends suggest that performance will continue to deteriorate rather than improve.

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