RCoA response to new NHS performance statistics

In response to the latest performance statistics released by NHS England, Dr Liam Brennan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said:

“These figures show that the NHS is in a fragile place right now and needs to be handled with care.

“Patient outcomes will be undermined by longer waits notwithstanding the discomfort and uncertainty which accompany delays in treatment.  At the same time the basic welfare needs of hospital doctors, such as a break to eat during a long shift, have all too frequently been sacrificed as they are asked to cope with ever increasing demands on their time.

“Clearly more needs to be done to help patients after surgery to reduce delays in returning home and freeing up available hospital beds.  But as well as improving the aftercare and rehabilitation of patients, more emphasis must be placed on ‘prehabilitation’ for patients awaiting a procedure, to get them in the best possible condition before their surgery.

“The RCoA’s Perioperative Medicine Programme is focused on optimising the care of patients before and after surgery and promoting best practice throughout the entire patient journey.  We have already seen hospitals reduce average length of stay, reduce mortality rates and save money by implementing effective perioperative pathways.

“The increasing demand for healthcare is rapidly outpacing the growth in staffing levels and the capacity of our hospitals and projections suggest this trend will continue.  The Government has made positive noises about ‘the most ambitious’ investment plans for the NHS, but it will take more than just noise to address such a spiraling volume of activity.”

11 August 2017

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