NHS “winter” pressure could become norm in summer, experts warn

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 12 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i905
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. A1 The BMJ

The typically poorer level of performance of the NHS in England in winters will soon be normal in summer months if current trends continue, a new analysis has concluded.

The study by the health charities the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation analysed data from the past five years to assess the root causes of the “winter pressures” that have left the NHS struggling to cope.1

The researchers observed that problems that usually occur only in winter such as slow ambulance response times and long waits for admission to a ward were increasingly occurring at other times of year. They said that this caused the service to enter last winter (2014-15) from a historically poor starting point, and they warned that the trend could cause a “downward spiral” in NHS performance if it continued.

Despite the mild weather conditions in winter 2014-15, the report said that that winter was …

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