There has been a lot of discussion about whether the NHS will be overwhelmed this winter, if it is already overwhelmed, or if it is just having yet another “normal” winter crisis and will get through, as it always has, despite the additional pressures from omicron. The sight of the army being deployed in hospitals and ambulance services should be a clue that all is not well, but we are on a “war footing” after all.
But can we be more precise about our current state?, writes Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, in this BMJ opinion piece.
Is the healthcare system delivering the needed level of patient care? The problem of the elective backlog—known and unknown—is well documented. Individual patients have lost months, or even years of good health. They have anxiety, pain, and debilities that limit their ability to engage fully with their families and society. But how about the ability of the NHS to provide safe and effective emergency care to the most seriously ill, distressed, or injured—the emergency part of the urgent and emergency care pathway? What service should we be delivering, and how do we match up to those standards at the moment?
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