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NHS under pressure: Crisis worse than last year, doctors warn

This article was taken from: http://www.itv.com/news/2018-03-12/nhs-under-pressure-crisis-worse-than-last-year-doctors-warn/

By ITV News

Nearly two-thirds of doctors say that pressure on the NHS has meant patient safety has deteriorated over the past year, a new report shows.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) found four out of five doctors are worried about the ability of their service to deliver safe patient care over the next 12 months.

Even more (84%) believe that the workforce is demoralised by the increasing pressures on the NHS.

Written responses to the RCP survey included one doctor who said: “Staff simply cannot deliver what is expected of them under current circumstances. We are not robots. We are human beings with limits.”

Another admitted: “I cried on my drive home because I am so frustrated and distraught at the substandard care we are delivering.”

The RCP’s latest NHS Reality Check Update 2018 saw more than 1,500 doctors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland answer the same questions they were a year ago.

The report found:

64%
of doctors believe that patient safety has deteriorated over the past year.

That figure is 10% higher than last year.

93%
of doctors had experienced staff shortages across the team

Marking a 9% increase on what doctors said last year.

47%
of doctors cited lower-quality care over the past year

A figure 10% higher than in last year’s survey.

In fact, the only measure to have improved was a 4% reduction in those experiencing delays in transfers of care from their service – 56%, down from 60% last year.

RCP president, Professor Jane Dacre, said: “It is extremely worrying and depressing that our doctors have experienced an even worse winter than last year, particularly when so much effort was put into forward planning and cancelling elective procedures to enable us to cope better.

“We simply cannot go through this again – it is not as if the situation was either new or unexpected. As the NHS reaches 70, our patients deserve better – somehow, we need to move faster towards a better resourced, adequately staffed NHS during 2018 or it will happen again.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are absolutely committed to making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, and more staff would now recommend their care to family and friends than ever before.

“We know the NHS is busy, that’s why we supported it this winter with an additional £437million of funding, and gave it top priority in the recent Budget with an extra £2.8bn allocated over the next two years.”