Britain's NHS warns of winter as healthcare service 'already under significant pressure'

Britain's NHS warns of winter as healthcare service 'already under significant pressure'

UK faces several strikes, protests by NHS staff over pay disputes, working conditions

By Burak Bir

LONDON (AA) - Britain's Health National Service (NHS) said on Thursday said the summer months are not too early to start getting ready for winter, which will see health care under even greater pressure.

"Winter is always a busy time for the NHS and our teams are already under significant pressure – so today, we are launching a plan to further increase resilience across the country," Sarah-Jane Marsh, NHS national director of urgent and emergency care, said in a statement on Thursday.

Her remarks came as the NHS has set out plans for winter with new measures to help speed up discharging patients and improve care.

A lack of staff resulting in long waiting lists at hospitals' accidents and emergency (A&E) services are among complaints by patients and staff.

In a bid to resolve problems the NHS faces, last month the government unveiled a 15-year workforce plan, calling it the “most ambitious transformation” in the health service's history.

Meanwhile, Miriam Deakin, director of policy and research at NHS Providers, also said: “Summer is never too early to start planning and preparing for winter in the NHS."

"Every winter piles extra pressure on already stretched health services," she added.

The UK has faced several of strikes and protests by the NHS staff over pay disputes and working conditions. Lack of workforce resulting in long waiting lists at A&E services are among the complaints made by the public and staff alike.

Last week, senior doctors across England held a 48-hour strike, their first industrial action in a decade, coming two days after the end of a five-day strike by junior doctors, which affected over 100,000 appointments, according to the NHS.

Meanwhile, the British Medical Association announced on Wednesday that junior doctors in England will stage another a four-day walkout next month.

In a speech this January, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said cutting waiting lists is one of the top five priorities of his government.

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