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Latest performance figures show the need to ‘get the fundamentals of care right’ before winter

10 October 2019

In response to performance figures released today that show four-hour performance at major A&Es at 77% in September, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Katherine Henderson said:

“The latest emergency care performance figures once again show the scale of the challenge facing our hardworking staff. We are going into winter in a difficult position – nearly six percentage points worse than last year in terms of four-hour performance at major departments, with the number of attendances continuing to rise.

“Emergency admissions also continue to rise, which is why comments made by NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens about increasing bed numbers are so welcome. For too long there has been little desire to halt the decline in bed numbers, with a focus instead on diversion schemes which have lacked evidence and have historically failed.

“Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) can undoubtedly play a vital part in the emergency care system, but an audit released today by the Society for Acute Medicine shows that almost half of units set-up across the NHS to deliver it are being turned into extra wards because of the need to admit so many patients.

“We simply must get the fundamentals of care right; we need more beds and crucially we need the staff to manage them. Without them we risk having even more patients stuck in A&E, stuck on trolleys and stuck in corridors – which is unacceptable. It is therefore urgent that plans are made to increase bed capacity both in hospital and in the community.”

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