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Summer will not relieve winter pressure, say health leaders

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Why are leaders pessimistic about the healthcare crisis?

Two groups of healthcare leaders have warned that the pressures under which the NHS is labouring will not let up as summer returns.

NHS Providers has warned that its members, trust chief executives, have doubts about how services will meet demand in 2018/19. In a report analysing NHS data and taking in comments from its members, it says that trusts have been set an impossible task. Just 5% of trusts think they can meet the four-hour A&E target; and 55% of trusts believe they will not contain their elective surgery waiting lists.

NHS Providers has called on the government to ‘reset the NHS national planning framework from 2019/20 onwards’.

Prime Minister Theresa May promised a long-term funding plan that would reduce the need for ‘annual cash top-ups’.

GP trade union the British Medical Association (BMA) has analysed official NHS data and highlighted trends where demand outstrips the NHS’s ability to supply a service.

BMA analysts have made a grim forecast about activity levels for July, August and September 2018. They predict activity levels equivalent to those of winter 2015 (best case scenario) or 2016 (worst case). For example, A&E attendances will be between 5.89m and 6.2m, with 127,000-147,000 trolley waits of four hours plus.

Further information

BBC News: We’ve not got enough beds or staff — NHS bosses

BMA: NHS pressures — future trends

BMA: Pressure points on the NHS

GuardianNHS is facing year-round crisis, says BMA

Health Service JournalDaily Insight: winter pressures for all seasons

NHS Providers: Tough task: The NHS delivering for patients and staff in 2018/19