“Only 93 beds have been freed by an NHS drive to get elderly patients home quicker, official figures show.
Doctors warned that the health service was not ready for winter after figures showed it ended the summer by missing most of its main targets.
This week Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, said that the health service needed to do more as a severe outbreak of flu in Australia threatened to move north for winter. He has given hospitals until November to free 3,000 beds by sending home patients who do not need to be on wards.
However, at the end of July there were 5,861 beds occupied because no suitable care could be arranged for patients elsewhere, barely down from 5,954 last year. “Progress over the next eight to ten weeks is going to have to accelerate markedly in conjunction with local authorities in order to free up further bed capacity ahead of winter,” a spokesman for NHS England said.
Long waits for routine surgery are also up, with 390,659 patients having waited more than 18 weeks, the highest number since 2008. More than four million people are on a waiting list.
A&E visits were down but only 90.3 per cent of patients were seen within four hours, compared with 91 per cent last summer. The target is 95 per cent.”
Source: Times pay wall