Intended for healthcare professionals


Under pressure: when does the NHS reach “breaking point”?

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 02 November 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2664
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Health leaders and patient facing staff have warned that the NHS is at “breaking point” as it confronts covid-19, winter pressures, and the backlog from the pandemic. In response, the government has said the health service is facing “sustainable pressure.” So, who is right? And what do these terms mean?

The short answer is that these terms have no set definition when it comes to the NHS, and that can lead to a contradictory narrative.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care told The BMJ that there are “various factors,” including bed occupancy …

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