‘Now is the time for an Urgent and Emergency Care plan’, RCEM says, as 24,000 patients face 12 hour waits in A&Es
Responding to the latest Emergency Department performance figures published by NHS England for April 2022, Dr Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:
“The crisis in Urgent and Emergency Care continues to deteriorate. The data show 24,000 patients were delayed in an Emergency Department for 12-hours or more (from decision to admit to admission). This is a staggering and grim number and should seriously alarm all political and health leaders. Patients are coming to harm; now is the time for an Urgent and Emergency Care plan to tackle this crisis.
“The situation is more serious than it has ever been. Patients face long waits for an ambulance, long waits in an ambulance outside an Emergency Department, and long waits in the Emergency Department. These long waits delay care and treatment to patients who may be in a critical condition, and they prevent our highly skilled paramedics from returning to the community and responding to urgent and emergency calls.
“At the heart of the issue are reduced bed capacity in hospitals mixed with an increase in the number long-stay patients – social care patients who do not have sufficient support to return home or to the community – and widespread workforce shortages throughout the system.
“To tackle the crisis the government must publish a fully funded workforce plan that includes measures to retain existing staff, and open 10,000 more beds across the UK.”
Responding to the government’s announcement of more funding for nursing in care homes, Dr Henderson continued:
“This announcement is welcome. Social Care nurses have long been undervalued and under-acknowledged. This increase in pay is a welcome step towards showing them the appreciation and gratitude they highly deserve.
“However, it is a shame to see that this increase in funding is limited to NHS-funded nursing care. The entire social care workforce deserves the same acknowledgement and reward. It is critical that during this crisis we attract and retain social care workers and value their time and effort by paying a wage that reflects the significance of their role.
“Good social care supports an efficient health service. Good social care can help prevent A&E attendances. Good social care will support patients moving in and out of hospital in a timely way. Crucially, good social care frees up space for other patients and increases flow throughout the hospital.”