Highest ever A&E attendances shows the need for extra resources

9 August 2018

Commenting on the latest A&E attendances & emergency admission statistics that show July had the highest ever number of attendances, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Taj Hassan said:

“The recent heatwave will have had an impact, but this should not be used to excuse inappropriate resourcing. It should also not come as a surprise that whatever the weather conditions, working in a continually under-resourced and declining system has consequences – all of which are detrimental to our patients. 
“The continued increase in demand, due to wider system failures and the hot weather has led to patients, and staff, suffering in unbearably hot conditions on wards and in waiting rooms. Long waits are unacceptable at the best of times, but when this is done within systems that are struggling already to cope this adds to the pressures on staff to be able to deliver safe, effective care.
“When plans are drawn up for the forthcoming, and very welcome, funding settlement, the needs and safety of patients must be at the forefront of thinking. We would strongly urge that money is not wasted on redirection strategies, but that significant investment is given to where patients actually go to be treated in a timely fashion in the Emergency Department as well as more acute beds to create capacity and flow for our ill patients. 
“However, this extra funding cannot come soon enough. We know it seems unlikely to be available to help staff care for patients and improve performance going into the winter. These latest figures show that we are in danger of slipping backwards and that we haven’t fully recovered from the last winter; we will be entering autumn and next winter with one arm tied behind our back.”