Last week, NHS England warned1 of a worst case scenario in which half of all hospital beds could be occupied by patients with respiratory infections—a triple winter threat of flu, pneumonia, and covid-19. NHS England predicted that this would be a worse capacity crisis than at the height of the covid-19 pandemic. Even if the worst case does not come to pass, NHS England is nonetheless setting up “war rooms” to try to cope with “one of the toughest winters in its history.”2Try is the operative word. The scary thing is that the NHS might try and fail. In many ways, it is already failing. The latest NHS statistics paint a grim picture.Things are bleak if you look at those needing urgent care. Ambulance response times are at near record levels and have been consistently high for over a year now3—even the most urgent calls are taking much longer than…

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