The British Medical Association warns the UK health service is now in “a state of perpetual crisis”.
According to Daily Mail Online: “Doctors have rubbished reported plans from Number 10 to stave off winter pressures in the health service as an empty gesture.
“There have been growing concerns over how the health service will function over the winter, and both Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock hold regular meetings with NHS bosses,” the report added.
“A Downing Street spokesperson denied reports in The Observer that the Government is planning to set up its own own ‘operations unit’ to give the PM direct oversight.”
A Care Quality Commission report released last month found more than half of A&E departments were inadequate or required improvement, warning of a “perfect storm” where people cannot access care.
“As the country’s first December election since 1923 looms, the Conservatives are keen to ease the pressure on the health service, especially as winter is often a crunch point for waiting times,” the report said.
“In a BMA statement, Dr Nagpaul said any emergency planning was down to panic ahead of an election.
“Under this Government’s watch, patients and staff working in the NHS have endured winter after winter of overcrowded emergency departments, long delays, and pitifully low staffing levels.
“Staff are already coming under extreme pressure, trolley waits are at a worryingly high level, A&E targets are not being met and, as such, the BMA predicts that the NHS is hurtling towards an unprecedented crisis this winter.”
A cash boost for the health service is also said to be under consideration, “while Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has also demanded meetings with the NHS so he can determine the state of the crisis”.
“Currently, there are more than 100,000 vacancies across the health service, with the chief executive of NHS Providers claiming this winter will leave the institution “in a much worse position that at any time in recent memory.”