Winter bed pressure issues predicted to be similar to 2012

This year, senior figures and managers can expect to tackle similar levels of demand as they did last season, as far as winter bed pressure is concerned.

This is according to information gathered by the NHS Confederation in which senior managers polled by the organisation indicated that they are expecting the colder weather and viruses to push up demand on bed space as the warmer temperatures that have spread across the country this summer start to recede.

The report highlighted that there is some concern within the industry regarding preparations for the change in season. Of the 125 chief executives, nursing and medical directors surveyed, 54 per cent stated that they do not expect the health service to meet its target of treating A&E patients within four hours during the coming winter months.

Its conclusion summed up the risks: “A prolonged period of cold, a rapid increase in the acuity of patients presenting in A&E or a lengthy norovirus would be all it would take to bring many departments to breaking point.”

The paper also highlighted the growing number of elderly patients being admitted. It found that the number of hospital admissions among those aged 85 and over has increased by more than a quarter within the last four years and called on hospitals and care services to ensure that they have adequate facilities in place for these patients.