The fact that the NHS failed to meet so many of its performance targets during August, a month when pressures usually ease, underlines once again the impossible task of continuing to meet rising demand for services and maintain standards of care within current funding constraints.
We have moved from an era where performance dipped in the winter to key targets being routinely missed all year round.
While much of the focus has been on A&E waiting times, the 18 week target for referral to treatment has now been missed for six months in a row.
This indicates that performance is deteriorating for elective as well as urgent care, leaving thousands of patients waiting longer for routine operations.
The record number of patients ready to be discharged but still in hospital highlights the impact of cuts in social care on the NHS. As we reported recently and today’s report from the Care Quality Commission underlines, the social care system is no longer sustainable in its current form.
The failure of successive governments to reform social care has resulted in a failing system that leaves older people, their families and carers to pick up the pieces. This must be addressed in the forthcoming Autumn Statement.