However, with continuing mild weather forecast for January and no sign of any flu epidemic, the feared escalation in demand has not happened. Measures taken last summer to prepare hospitals for the winter pressures appear to be working. The survey found three-quarters of hospitals had appointed bed managers and half the respondents said new beds had been opened in their hospitals although bed shortages were still a problem.
Eight out of 10 accident and emergency nurses believe the NHS would not be able to cope with any sudden escalation in demand this winter. A survey, published in Nursing Standard, found three-quarters of respondents felt the pounds 300m the Government allocated last autumn to stave off a winter crisis would have little effect.