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The worst is yet to come for the NHS - hospital chiefs

The worst is yet to come for the NHS - hospital chiefs
From BBC - September 2, 2017

The NHS in England may suffer its worst winter in recent history if it does not receive an emergency bailout, hospital chiefs are warning.

They say the cash is needed to pay for extra staff and beds because attempts to improve NHS finances have failed.

The government has given councils an extra 1bn for social care services, to help relieve the pressure on hospitals.

But the latest figures show A&E waits and bed shortages remain "stubbornly" bad, according to NHS Providers.

The group, which represents NHS chief executives, is calling for between 200m and 350m to be made available immediately.

The target to see most patients in A&E within four hours has been missed for two years now, while bed occupancy rates remain above recommended levels.

Over the summer, just over 90% of A&E patients were treated or admitted within four hours.

That was below the goal of 95% and was almost exactly the same percentage as last summer, which was then followed by the worst set of winter waiting times since the target was introduced in 2004.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: "Last winter the health service came under pressure as never before. This winter could be worse."

He acknowledge that planning had been much better this year but said that despite those efforts, and the extra money for care services, hospitals were still struggling to improve performance.

"We are in virtually the same position as this time last year," he said.

Winter worries

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