Rising accident and Emergency pressures within the NHS are mainly due to sicker patients, with severe illnesses and complex health needs, according to a report from the King’s Fund.
Approximately 80% of NHS finance directors who responded to a recent King’s Fund survey identified the growing number of patients with severe illnesses as a key reason for winter pressures on A&E units. 70% suggested that delays in discharging patients from hospital was another key issue. Conversely, less than 30% identified poor access to GPs and staff shortages as key factors.
Despite the increased pressure on A&E units, the survey revealed that the NHS took important steps to cope with rising demands on its resources, with more than 70% of trusts increasing staff numbers and 80 per cent of clinical commissioning groups paying for additional resources in primary care settings.
Part of this pressure is due to a high proportion of hospital beds being occupied last autumn and a lack of spare beds becoming available to meet the rising demands of the winter months.