A recent House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts report examines the increasing demand for A&E services, in the context of budgets under pressure and a shortage of specialist A&E consultants. It also investigates slow progress on introducing out of hours consultant cover, and insufficient performance quality data impairing the development and improvement of A&E services.
Committee members assert that neither the Department of Health nor NHS England has a strategy to tackle these shortages and shortfalls. NHS England retorts that plans to reform emergency and urgent care were published in late 2013, and will include setting-up a two-tier A&E system, plus clearer information for users about when to access other services such as pharmacies, walk-in centres and NHS 111.
House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts (2014). Emergency admissions to hospital. Forty-sixth Report of Session 2013–14. Report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence. Ordered by the House of Commons. London: The Stationery Office Limited (House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts), March 4th 2014. Reference No. HC 885.
Possibly also of interest, a BBC News commentary summarising the results of a poll on these broad topics, from Healthwatch England:
Triggle, N. (2014). One-fifth of patients ‘admit to misusing A&E units’. London: BBC Health News, March 4th 2014.
Whole-System Approach for Urgent and Emergency Care (NHS Confederation)
The NHS Confederation / Urgent and Emergency Care Forum has published a report recommending a fully joined-up approach whole-systems approach to solutions for the urgent and emergency care crisis.
“This report acts as a roadmap to the fundamental changes required to create a sustainable and high-quality urgent and emergency care system that can meet the needs of patients now and in the future”.
Ripping off the sticking plaster: whole-system solutions for urgent and emergency care. London: NHS Confederation’s Urgent and Emergency Care Forum, March 2014.
More News Coverage on Targets / Target Culture
Recent BBC News commentaries:
Triggle, N. (2014). Two thirds of A&Es ‘miss winter wait time target’. London: BBC Health News, March 28th 2014.
Triggle, N. (2014). Did the NHS get lucky this winter? London: BBC Health News, March 29th 2014.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, talking at Royal Surrey County Hospital, mentioned waiting times, increasing pressures on the NHS and the danger of focusing on targets.
NHS waiting times: job not done. London: Department of Health, August 4th 2014.