Pressure on emergency care mounting

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, today said that rising concerns over the number of visits to A&E and pressure on ambulance services need to be dealt with “head-on by the Government as a cold snap could see them reaching breaking point”.
The union blamed the Government’s austerity agenda and cuts in services for adding to the pressure on emergency services. Vital support for those suffering from mental healthproblems, homelessness or drug and alcohol abuse are being cut in the community leading people to seek help from A&E as a last resort.
Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Health, welcomed the recognition from NHS England’s deputy chief executive, Dame Barbara Hakin, of the efforts put in by NHS staff over theChristmas period, saying:
“Staff across the NHS have made sterling efforts to keep the service running in the face of growing demand and budget cuts. It is only right that staff in A&E and in the ambulance service get recognition and thanks for the work they do.  They have gone above and beyond over the Christmas period to help patients get the treatment they need quickly and safely.
“The Government, however, needs to face the fact that its austerity agenda is having a vicious knock-on effect on the NHS.  When services are cut in the community for those suffering from homelessness, mental health problems or chronic drug and alcohol addiction, that leaves a gap that the NHS is being expected to fill.
“The Government needs to deal with these problems head-on as a cold snap could see emergency services reaching breaking point”.