“The NHS is set to face an “even tougher winter” than the record-breaking crisis it weathered less than 10 months ago, as hospital bosses warn of staff and funding shortages.
Despite the government claiming the health service was “better prepared than ever” last year, ambulance queues tripled, there were fewer beds available and doctors wrote to Theresa May warning of patients “dying prematurely” in corridors.
Hospital leaders said the major issues of workforce, funding and social care remain unresolved, and figures released on Thursday show how an unprecedented summer heatwave has left no time to tackle the significant backlog in operations.
Theresa May has pledged an extra £20bn for the NHS by 2023 but this will not start to plug gaps until April 2019.
Meanwhile, hospital heads told The Independent funds usually held in reserve to add capacity in winter were already used up, or useless because there was no one to work.”