How do NHS leaders view the coming winter?
An NHS Confederation survey has revealed that more than 90% of 130 health and care leaders across England are ‘concerned’ about their organisation’s ability to cope the coming winter, with 62% ‘extremely concerned’.
Confederation boss Niall Dickson said: ‘Not only is there the prospect of ongoing pressure, high bed occupancy, and delayed transfers of care blockages in flow, but the worry too of a serious flu attack combined with bad weather.’
Mr Dickson’s organisation has called for a comprehensive government review of services, how much they will cost and how they will be funded. He said a cash injection at this stage will not save the NHS from a winter crisis and urged the chancellor to revisit funding allocations up to 2020 to avoid a cycle of crises.
‘Any additional money must be carefully targeted to produce the greatest benefit,’ Niall Dickson said. ‘The focus should be on additional out-of-hospital provision to free up beds in hospitals.’
NHS England, Public Health England, the Department of Health and NHS Improvement have unveiled measures to boost the uptake of flu vaccinations along with a package of actions to respond to pressures on frontline services this winter.
Measures include providing free flu vaccines for hundreds of thousands of care home staff at a cost of up to £10m as well as increasing the number of jabs for young children in schools and for vulnerable people.
NHS Confederation: Healthcare on the brink