A West Suffolk NHS Trust boss has said the burden placed on staff is now "almost intolerable" following the announcement of a critical internal incident last week.

At the latest meeting of the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust board, chief executive Craig Black expressed his concern for the pressure placed on its services in the midst of staff shortages, increased waiting times and pay award negotiations.

This follows the declaration of a critical internal incident across the foundation which, though initially extended due to no improvement, was officially lifted on Tuesday, July 19.

Mr Black said: "The burden that we're placing on staff is almost intolerable. The demand is not matched by the capacity that we've got and the consequence of that gap is being felt by individuals across the organisation on a daily basis."

The number of patients waiting 104 weeks or more has dropped significantly, falling from 411 in February to 39 as of July 5. Of these 39 patients remaining, 23 have opted to wait to be treated at the Trust and 16 are currently unable to receive treatment due to clinical reasons.

Mr Black added: "Some of the progress we have made around waiting times is a true testimony to an awful lot of hard work, but the pressure still continues."

To remedy this, the trust is continuing its joint-working scheme in collaboration with local health partners in the region to offer those who experience the longest waits the option to receive treatment at another trust.

It is also running extended theatre lists and clinics, increased diagnostics to support timely access to scans and offering digital appointments where possible.

Mr Black also referred to the pay award announcements earlier this week which have seen NHS staff receive a pay rise below inflation increases, saying they had prompted a "degree of disquiet across the whole NHS".

He added: "Different staff groups have received different pay awards... There are real anomalies within this which feel almost deliberately divisive."

Finally, Mr Black extended his thanks to his staff and the NHS: "We recognise, and continue to be amazed by the unbelievable commitment our staff have shown through this period and we will work to support them to ensure that they and our patients are cared for."