Critical incidents declared at NHS hospital and ambulance trusts across England amid record A&E demand

30 December 2022, 00:09

Officials warned the NHS faces one of the toughest winters in its history
Officials warned the NHS faces one of the toughest winters in its history. Picture: Getty

By Adam Solomons

A dozen NHS hospitals and ambulance trusts have declared critical incidents as officials warned the health service faces one of the toughest winters in its history.

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Hospitals in Dorset County, Portsmouth and Nottingham today declared incidents as they warned they are being overwhelmed by patient demand and staff shortages.

It comes as A&E services in Scotland hit record lows for meeting waiting time targets.

The NHS in Leeds warned "some planned surgery will be cancelled", while Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust yesterday reported “record numbers of people attending A&E, calling NHS111, accessing GP services and calling 999”.

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NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor said: “The number of critical incidents we have seen declared over recent days are an accumulation of a number of difficult challenges meaning the NHS is facing one of the toughest winters in its history.

“High rates of flu, ongoing issues with delayed discharge and the disruptive impact of industrial action are compounding the longer-term issues of over 130,000 NHS vacancies, a decade-long lack of investment in capital and the elective backlog. This is bringing pressures to a head in many parts of the country.

“Whilst secondary care is where these challenges are perhaps the most visible, it’s also the case that primary, community and mental health care are under huge strain and many of the most vulnerable members of our communities rely on these services most."

Medway Foundation NHS Trust in Kent and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust in Lancashire declared critical incidents last week.

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