Nuffield Trust’s Chief Economist, Professor John Appleby, responds to NHS England’s weekly winter operational statistics:
“Clearly the NHS is under tremendous pressure at the moment, and staff are struggling to maintain the standards of care they want to deliver.
Today’s statistics show high occupancy of beds, and more ambulances queuing than before with almost one in five now held up for more than half an hour.
But in fact, they also show that bed occupancy and the number of beds closed due to norovirus are no worse than last year.
The sobering reality is that winter for the NHS has hardly started. The service is likely to face another three months of exceptional need for care, and it is starting from a precarious position. There is an underlying mismatch between the capacity to deliver care and the level of care patients require.”