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Concerns over winter pressure on A&E as doctors feel unequipped

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

According to emergency doctors, A&E departments across the country are not equipped to deal with winter pressure. Concerns were raised following the weekly update of A&E performance by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. It revealed that 9 in 10 hospitals have increased bed numbers, yet continue to struggle with the rising demands. The RCEM’s weekly report covers more than 40 hospital trusts, providing a brief performance snapshot.

The most recent update found that only 86% of patients were being seen within the four-hour waiting time target, far below the 95% guideline. It also found issues with delayed discharges – delayed discharges are caused when there is not the available care needed for patients when they come out of hospital, forcing hospitals to keep them in wards. The report revealed that in some trusts, one fifth of beds are being taken up by patients of this type.

“we are working hard”

Official data from NHS England said that it is not only “insufficient capacity and capability” that is to blame for the A&E failings, it found that A&E visits have in fact been increasing. There were almost 340,000 A&E attendances last week, up from 328,000 the previous week. But Dr Barbara Hakin, of NHS England, reassured patients, stating: “We are working hard to make sure all parts of the NHS are well prepared for the busy winter period”.

Scotland also provides weekly reports of its A&E service. It showed that up until the beginning of December, over 95% of its patients were being seen within the four-hour time target.

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