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‘Dedicated budget’ long overdue to tackle ‘life-threatening’ crisis in emergency care system 

26 June 2024

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has welcomed the call from the Liberal Democrats for the next government to put in place an emergency Health and Care Budget after the election 

It comes as the party released data tonight (26 June 2024) which it says shows some older people experienced “trolley-waits” of over five days in A&E before being admitted to hospital last year.

They say the issues in the health service are so urgent that funding plans need to be put in place as soon as possible after the General Election next week (4 July 2024) to address them.

Highlighting the need to create more staffed hospital beds to help tackle the shocking situation so clearly evidenced by Channel Four’s Dispatches: Undercover A&E in Crisis programme earlier this week, the party says emergency measures must be put in place. Funds should also be provided to recruit more GPs and end long NHS waiting lists.

RCEM has long campaigned to reduce long A&E waits across the UK, and have highlighted their dangers – with more than 250 deaths a week linked to A&E waits of more than 12 hours in 2023.

Tonight’s figures, obtained by the Liberal Democrats via Freedom of Information Act requests to NHS hospital trusts, show many patients aged over 65 faced waits of several days in A&E (2023-24) following a decision to admit to hospital.

Dr Adrian Boyle, President of RCEM said: “We once again commend the Liberal Democrats for championing the NHS and actively focusing on the issues which affect so many people.

“The idea that anyone is forced to wait in an A&E department for such extended periods of time is awful, but when you consider these are older people, many of them who will be frail or have other illnesses, it is unconscionable and ultimately can be life-threatening.

“We agree that ending long waits in Emergency Departments, increasing bed capacity and providing more localised community care are exactly the elements the next government should be addressing.”

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