The NHS in England risks its traditionally poorer levels of performance in winter becoming the norm in summer, reveals an extensive analysis of the last five years of data by leading health charities the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation. The report shows that problems that are usually observed only during the winter months are increasingly being seen at other times of year – which meant that the NHS entered winter 2015/16 from a historically poor starting point. The authors argue that this could lead to a ‘downward spiral’ in performance.
Winter pressures: what’s going on behind the scenes? also demonstrates that by many measures, last winter (2014/15) was the most difficult for the NHS since weekly figures began to be collected, despite weather conditions not being especially bad. This leads to fears that the current winter could be tougher still.