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Current Winter Pressures Were Already Hitting Last Autumn

According to the newly published data from NHS England, pressures on the National Health Service (NHS) were already demonstrably growing back in November of last year.

The joint performance data for November 2016 show Accident & Emergency (A&E) attendances increased by 4.5 per cent over the twelve-month period up to November compared with the previous year, with emergency admissions also increasing by 3.5 per cent.

According to the latest data, there were 1,906,784 attendances at A&E, representing 1.7% more than in November 2015 and A&E waiting time criteria were not met. In November 2016, there were 193,680 delayed transfers of care days, which is a rise of 40,525 from November 2015.

The figures also show that the 85 per cent standard for 62-day cancer waiting times was not met, with 82.3 per cent of patients starting a first definitive treatment within 62 days from an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer.

NHS Providers said that the NHS was approaching winter, while staffs were already working flat out to deal with a “relentless” rise in demand.

The Director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said that the latest figures shows the extraordinary pressures NHS have seen during the Christmas. The numbers of patients attending A&E and needing an emergency admission were up, and late transfers of care for patients who were ready to leave hospital were at historically high points.

The research fellow on health for think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Harry Quilter-Pinner said that the latest data shows that patents are waiting longer for treatment, including for life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.

The chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Stephen Dalton said that the pressure on A&E departments is due to the lack of funding in primary, community, mental health and social care. In this winter, the Health and care staffs are working harder than before and are continuing to ‘just about cope’, but this is simply not maintainable.

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