The BBC has reported that patients are at risk this Christmas with nearly 95% of hospital beds already being occupied. The figure was released in the NHS England’s first weekly report. Anything above 85% is considered unsafe. A spokesperson for NHS England said that their staff are ‘working hard’ to keep up with demand and to avoid missing their targets.
Following the release of these figures, there is concern that some hospitals will have no choice but to turn away new patients and ambulances. The BBC reported last week that eight A&E departments diverted ambulance crews elsewhere, because they were unable to accept any more patients.
This picture is despite the mild weather this December and a low number of patients contracting the flu this year. NHS staff are urging the public to ensure that they have their free flu jab to aid people to be healthy and to keep ‘out of hospital wherever possible’.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth highlighted his concerns in warning: ‘Winter is only just beginning for our NHS and these are hugely concerning figures that don’t bode well for the difficult weeks ahead.’
In relation to the three key NHS targets of A&E waiting times, cancer care and hospital operations, the. BBC reports that it has now been more than a year since the three key targets have been hit anywhere in the UK. Earlier this year, it was announced by the Government that it would be providing more money to the NHS. However, it is not expected to reach the front line until 2019.
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