As the NHS remains in intensive care, its long-term future is shrouded in doubt

The winter has been the NHS’s worst ever, with the now all-too-familiar images of stationary ambulances outside A&E with patients that cannot be admitted, soaring lists for elective treatments and the largest ever nursing strike in its history.

While the long-suffering British public has ever thus put up with long waiting times and a bad January, this time it feels different with a palpable sense that people are getting worried.

The political reaction to the crisis initially ran true-to-form with some short-term announcements such as a ‘discharge fund’ to support Adult Social Care (actually first announced in September last year), a commitment to provide more ambulances and a hastily convened meeting of healthcare leaders in Downing Street.

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