Accident & Emergency departments need almost 3,000 more doctors to cope with a winter predicted to be more difficult than the last.

Hospitals face unprecedented challenges with record occupancy levels leaving too few empty beds to cope with surges in demand.

The report by the Commons Health Select Committee states that health services coped last year because of mild weather and working flu vaccines. It suggests this winter could be ‘substantially more difficult’ because recent performance is worse than normal for this time of year.

Chairman of the Commons Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston, said: “If you have too little capacity you get sick people backing up in A&E departments and the system begins to unravel. If we have a cold snap or the flu vaccine doesn’t work we will have serious problems in the system.”

Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of Health Think Tank, the Nuffield Trust, said: “The NHS is going into its toughest winter yet with the odds stacked against it. Demand for healthcare is on the rise, funding for both health and social care is being squeezed and A&E departments are missing their targets.”

He said social care services needed at least £2.8bn more by 2019-20 to fill a growing funding gap.

Has your department been affected by staff shortages? Are you interested in a career in Emergency Medicine? We’re always looking for skilled doctors – have a look at our jobs or contact us to discuss how we can help:

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