Urgent And Emergency Services
HC 171, Second Report of Session 2013-14 - Volume I: Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
- House of Commons - Health Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
The report 'Urgent And Emergency Services (HC 171)' examines the quality of provision of urgent and emergency services in hospitals, following the failure of emergency departments to meet national waiting time targets in early 2013.
The Committee is concerned that witnesses disagreed about the nature of demand for urgent and emergency care, and that there is inadequate information available. There is also a lack of clarity about who is responsible for using such information, even if it were adequate. Demand for urgent care is thought to be the responsibility of Urgent Care Boards (UCBs) but it is unclear about how many UCB's are planned, what powers they will have and how they will relate to other commissioning bodies, particularly the recently created Health and Wellbeing Boards.
Emergency departments suffer from low staffing levels. Only 17% of designated Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments can guarantee consultant coverage for a minimum of 16 hours a day during the working week. The figure is even lower at weekends and there are high vacancy rates for senior staff and consultants, leading to high locum costs. Furthermore, many trainees reject emergency medicine in favour of other specialities.
MPs also question the role NHS 111 will play in the emergency and urgent care system. Having to speak to a call-handler and go through a laborious triage process will only encourage patients to see A&E as their first port of call.
The potential of the ambulance services to provide even greater care to patients is an encouraging development. Sir Bruce Keogh is currently conducting his own review of urgent and emergency care on behalf of NHS England, and the Committee hopes their recommendations will be incorporated
Growing demand on A&E departments will make them unsustainable if effective action is not taken quickly.
|Format||Paperback||Published||24 Jul 2013|
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