Hospital: Relieving the pressure

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The major incident declaration at Scarborough Hospital highlights the unprecedented levels of pressure that the NHS is currently under.

Staff are working flat out but the system is struggling to cope with the sheer number of patients coming through the door. Growing pressure on services throughout the year means hospitals such as Scarborough have no spare capacity to deal with the spike in demand that we’re seeing at the moment.

To alleviate pressure on emergency departments we must ensure people are better supported to self-care where appropriate, they get the right advice first time round on where to seek treatment so as to avoid unnecessary trips to A&E, and that they have access to an effective out-of-hours telephone service as NHS 111 is still falling short of the mark.

Above all, the NHS needs adequate investment to ensure there are enough staff and resources to meet rising demand, including taking urgent action to address the high number of staff vacancies in acute and emergency care.

Dr Paul Flynn,

Consultant committee chair,

British Medical Association,

Tavistock Square

London