13:40 Over 40% of hospitals declared a ‘major alert’ in the first week of January and 95% of hospital beds were full in England.
BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said the official data was ‘extremely concerning’ and ‘shows the scale of the crisis in our NHS at the moment’.
He said: ‘It’s astonishing that, following a week in which alerts were six times higher than the last, the Government has chosen to play down the pressure that services are under. This is shameful. With each day that minsters continue to ignore this crisis more and more patients are left suffering the consequences.
‘Our hospitals are in the red, GPs are unable to keep up with the number of patients coming through the surgery door, patients are suffering and staff are working under impossible conditions. We urgently need the Government to act now and put together a long term plan to help solve the ever growing issues around staffing and funding the health and social care system as a whole.’
11:35 Pressure group GP Survival has had an overwhelming response to a no-confidence vote in health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Its online vote of members saw responses from 813 GPs in 24 hours, with 99.6% supporting its motion to have him removed from office.
The motion said: ‘That the membership of GP Survival has NO CONFIDENCE in the Secretary of State for Health the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt, consider him unfit to hold office, and call for his immediate resignation or removal.’
GP Survival said in a statement that the vote comes as the NHS is ‘beyond breaking point, it is broken’, because it ‘has been starved of funding’.
It added: ‘It is the position of GP Survival that our membership has no confidence in the health secretary. We consider him destructive and detrimental to the NHS, the professionals who dedicate themselves to it, and the patients who desperately need it to work. We will not stand quietly while the NHS fails under his watch.
‘We call for Mr Hunt’s immediate resignation or removal and we call on other organisations, within and allied to the NHS, including the BMA and the RCGP to conduct their own votes of no-confidence in the health secretary. We would, as an organisation, be willing to work with a new health secretary who can understand the nature of the health service, its staff, and its complexity.’
10:30 Mr Stevens was not the only person this week to deplore the insufficient funding of health and social care. He was also not the only person told by the Prime Minister that funding is sufficient.
Writing in response to a letter from the House of Commons Health Committee, Mrs May said that ‘more money is not the only answer’.
She said: ‘There is variation in performance across the country that cannot be explained by different levels of spending, with half of social care delayed discharges in just 24 local areas. In the medium-term we need to make sure that the health and care system learns from the best performers to raise standards across the system.’
09:40 NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens ‘could risk his job’ unless he ‘calms things down’ amid a ‘row’ with the Prime Minister, claims the Telegraph.
The paper quotes ‘senior Government sources’ as saying this comes despite a general opinion that Mr Stevens is doing a good job.
They say this comes as Mr Stevens was at ‘loggerheads’ with Theresa May over NHS spending earlier in the week.
As Pulse also reported, Mr Stevens said it was not right to say the Government had given the NHS more funding than it asked for – a claim Mrs May repeated as late as Wednesday.