Summer strains on NHS highlight scale of Boris Johnson's challenge: The Yorkshire Post says

It has become customary for the winter months to produce a crisis in the NHS, with a sharp rise in admissions, particularly of elderly patients, putting hospitals under extreme pressure.

A&E waiting times are at record levels. Picture: PA
A&E waiting times are at record levels. Picture: PA

Yet here we are, at the height of summer, witnessing what amounts to the same problem, with the number of patients waiting more than four hours to be admitted to accident and emergency at a record high, having risen by more than a third in a year. At the same time, the NHS has missed its target for specialists seeing newly-referred cancer patients.

The freakishly hot weather during July is undoubtedly a factor in the spike in emergency admissions, but does not tell the whole story.

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What is clear from these figures is that the strains on the service apparent during winter are now spreading throughout the year, and that is a matter of grave concern because it risks the NHS existing in a permanent state of crisis.

Boris Johnson must heed Barbara Windsor's dementia care crisis: The Yorkshire Post saysThe demands of Britain’s ageing and expanding population, with people living longer and developing more long-term medical conditions, are relentlessly ratcheting up pressure on the NHS. This is an intractable problem that successive Governments have tried to get to grips with.

Everything about the service comes down to questions of resources, whether it is investment in hospitals and equipment, or the recruitment and retention of staff.

Boris Johnson came to office promising to boost the NHS, as every Prime Minister does. These latest figures demonstrate just what a daunting challenge he faces in making an effective difference.