RCEM: BMA evaluation of emergency care figures welcome but ‘only tells part of the story’

7 November 2018

Responding to today’s analysis of emergency care data by the British Medical Association, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Dr Taj Hassan said:

“We welcome this review of NHS data from the BMA, which echoes and reinforces what the College has been saying over several years. While the figures in this report paint a bleak picture, it only tells part of the story; the number of beds across the system has declined by nearly 10% in the last 7 years, with occupancy rates now routinely above safe levels.

“This is part of the reason why Emergency Departments are now experiencing winter conditions all year round with little sign of respite, and patients suffering as a result. We are undoubtedly heading into this winter in very precarious position.

“The annual ‘winter rescue package’ is always very welcome, but again has come a little late. We hope to see better planning in the forthcoming 10-year plan that will render ‘winter bailouts’ unnecessary; prioritising the recently agreed emergency care workforce plan and halting the annual decline of bed numbers is essential. 

“While we keenly await resource allocation from the extra £20.5bn announced by the government for the NHS, in anticipation of another difficult winter, the College has issued guidance to UK Trusts and Boards on how to best maintain safety in Emergency Departments with the resources they currently have.”