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Emergency Care in the South East remains under considerable pressure

16 June 2022

Responding to the latest Emergency Department performance figures for the South East Coast published by NHS England for May 2022 Dr Salwa Malik, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and South East Coast Regional Chair for The Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:

“The South East Coast (SEC) Urgent and Emergency Care system remains under considerable pressure. May 2022 performance figures show that Emergency Departments in the South East saw nearly 25,000 (8.5%) more attendances compared to April 2022. One-third of patients waited more than four-hours to before being seen admitted, transferred or discharge, while nearly 1,200 patients waited 12-hours or more.

“The crisis continues to present a significant challenge to health care workers. Staff are burnt out but continue to do all they can to deliver effective care and to keep patients safe. Morale is low, a consequence of an understaffed and undervalued workforce struggling to deliver care in challenging circumstances. While patients continue to be distressed and frustrated by these long waiting times, and a struggling Urgent and Emergency Care system.

“In the South East we need acknowledgement of the pressure the system is under, we need local Members of Parliament (MP), local councils and local authorities to recognise the strain and we need these groups to advocate for health care workers who are continuously pushed to the brink. We urge for social care provision to be expanded to help improve flow throughout our hospitals, which will also help prevent A&E attendances and reattendances. Lastly, we urge our local MPs to speak with the Secretary of State and Health Ministers and call for workforce expansion in the South East, where there are significant shortages of staff in Emergency Medicine and other healthcare specialties.”

Notes to editor

The latest regional monthly performance figures published by NHS England for May 2022 for the South East show:

  • There were 205,688 attendances at major Emergency Departments in the South East
    • This is an 7.3% increase on the previous month, April 2022
  • 1,183 patients were delayed for 12 hours or more from decision to admit to admission
  • Four-hour performance at major Emergency Departments was 65.8%
    • This means that more than one in three patients were delayed by four-hours or more
  • There were 55,919 Emergency Admissions to major Emergency Departments, 4.4% more compared to the previous month April 2022
  • 28% of major Emergency Department attendances were admitted to hospital
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