The BMA is predicting that up to 774,000 people will wait more than four hours at the country’s A&E departments this summer.
Using official data from the last five years, the association has estimated best and worse case scenarios for demand on A&E services in July, August and September 2018. Based on current trends, its assessment is that “rather than experiencing the customary fall in pressures this summer, the NHS will experience similar levels of demand and activity this summer as it did in the winter of just two or three years ago”.
The best-case scenario would see 5.89 million A&E attendances over the three-month period, including 1.51 emergency admissions. While 89.6 per cent are expected to be seen, admitted or discharged within four hours, it is estimated that there will be 613,000 people waiting over four hours at A&E and 127,000 trolley waits of four or more hours.
However, in a worst-case scenario, almost 150,000 people would be waiting on trollies for four or more hours. In a situation where 6.2 million A&E attendances occur, there will be 774,000 people waiting over four hours at A&E and 147,000 trolley waits of four or more hours. The level of demand would be similar to the winter 2016.
The BMA said: “As the process of dealing with the fallout of massive spikes in demand and pressures during the winter months now extends into summer, it begins to overlap with the early stages of planning for the following winter. The winter crisis has been replaced by a year-round crisis.”