Fifty-two Hospital Trusts Forced to Redirect Ambulances

The latest NHS figures indicate that the health service has recently experienced the busiest week in its history.

And this resulted in record numbers of hospitals being forced to relocate patients and declare major alerts.

Fifty-two hospital trusts had to send ambulances elsewhere between 8th and 15th January.

This is nearly double the same figure from last year, according to NHS England.

Meanwhile, 68 trusts – 45% of the 152 in total in England – declared an alert last week.

NHS England suggested that the escalation can be partially attributed to alterations in the way that data is recorded.

But healthcare professionals have continually emphasised that the situation in the healthcare system is as challenging and relentless as it has ever been.

Additionally, 15 trusts were placed on continuous alert over a 10-day period between 3rd and 13th January.

Bed occupancy rates in acute NHS trusts hit 95.8% last week; well above the safe levels of 85%.

Among acute trusts, 15 were completely occupied, while an additional 24 had five beds free for patients needing to be admitted in an emergency.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, was critical of the overall picture, and placed the blame firmly on the government.

“This NHS winter crisis brings bad news day after day and patients are paying the price. The government is doing nothing to deal with it. I don’t know how bad the figures need to get for them to actually take action.”

Both statistical and anecdotal evidence from within the healthcare system points to serious problems.

This winter has been particularly challenging, despite the fact that it has been rather mild.

The government will face increasing calls to invest more heavily in the NHS, at a time when it is in fact requiring NHS trusts to achieve massive efficiency savings.

 

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