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Government urged to take action over NHS pressures


The crisis engulfing the NHS will continue until Easter, health leaders have warned, as senior doctors accused ministers of letting patients die needlessly through inaction.

More than a dozen trusts and ambulance services have declared critical incidents in recent days, with soaring demand, rising flu and Covid cases and an overstretched workforce piling pressure on the health service.

But amid warnings that up to 500 people a week may be dying due to delays in emergency care alone, and of oxygen for seriously ill patients running out in parts of England, NHS leaders warned more chaos was expected until April.

“It seems likely that the next three months will be defined by further critical incidents needing to be declared and the quality of care being compromised,” said Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ministers face growing pressure to grip the crisis. The British Medical Association (BMA) said the government’s “deafening” silence and failure to act was a “political choice” that was leading to patients “dying unnecessarily”.

The Liberal Democrats urged the government to recall parliament, while Labour blamed government “mismanagement” for creating a sense of “jeopardy” around the NHS.

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Source: The Guardian, 2 January 2022

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