Analysis: Critical incidents show much of the health service is already overwhelmed after years of understaffing
Back in October Sajid Javid insisted: “We don’t believe that the pressures currently faced by the NHS are unsustainable.” It was a statement that did not age well. It led to snorts of derision from senior doctors and hospital bosses, some of whom wondered what planet the health secretary was living on.
Days later Roland Sinker, the chief executive of Cambridge university hospitals NHS trust, gave a vivid insight into how easily NHS hospitals can get overwhelmed. He told a staff Zoom meeting that the loss of 150 out of 900 beds at the trust’s main hospital – Addenbrooke’s, one of the NHS’s finest – meant that “we could barely function before Covid”. With “150 beds out of 900” unavailable, “this is ceasing to function as a hospital”.
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