13 April 2023
Commenting on the inaugural publication of 12-hour length of stay data measured from the time of arrival by NHS England for February 2023, Dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:
“We thank NHS England for taking the initiative in publishing these data. This is a welcome and significant step for Emergency Medicine and for the College, which has been campaigning for this for a long time. I am grateful to my predecessors for their work in paving the way for this outcome. We will work with NHS England to ensure these data lead to transformation and improvement of patient care. We are pleased that NHS England is implementing their Urgent and Emergency Care delivery plan, we will continue to look at the progress of this with interest.
“As the data show, there are large numbers of patients waiting 12-hours from their time of arrival. Now, we must get to work and reduce and eliminate these dangerous delays and overcrowding in Emergency Departments – that we know are harmful to patients. This is a more patient centred metric and seeing these data give us better clarity and granularity around issues of patient flow through our departments and hospitals and will allow us to better tackle the crisis, root and branch.”
Responding to the latest Emergency Department performance figures published by NHS England for March 2023, Dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:
“Emergency Care remains in crisis. NHS England’s Urgent and Emergency Care delivery plan is a welcome step towards the recovery of Emergency Care. As part of this, we welcome NHS England’s initiative on publishing 12-hour length of stay data measured from the time of arrival, but further action cannot be delayed.
“Emergency Department performance remains poor, acute bed numbers are low while bed occupancy numbers remain dangerously high. Flow through our hospitals is exceptionally slow, leading to delays to admission and delays in Emergency Departments. The continued lack of responsive social care means we are unable to discharge patients in a timely way – keeping patients in hospital longer than necessary. We are hugely disappointed that the government has chosen to halve funding pledged for social care, this is a significant misstep that threatens the recovery of Emergency Care. Good social care underpins an effective health service and cuts will only have a further detrimental impact on patients.
“Bed occupancy at Trusts is dangerously high. We must see an the expansion of the acute bed base, the NHS Urgent and Emergency Care delivery plan pledges ‘funding of £1 billion for additional capacity, including 5,000 new beds as part of the permanent bed base for next winter’ – since this pledge was made in January the acute bed base has marginally decreased. NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care must prioritise this to reduce delays to admission and overcrowding in Emergency Departments.
“Alongside this, we reiterate the urgent need for the publication of the fully-funded long term workforce plan that the government have pledged to deliver. This must contain workforce projections and figures and crucial measures to retain our existing workforce.
“High bed occupancy, poor performance, delays to admission, delayed discharges and overcrowding in Emergency Departments are deep rooted and long-standing problems. They are not new problems caused by recent events and disruption. These can only be tackled with medium- and long-term solutions that we lay out in our five priorities for UK Governments to #ResuscitateEmergencyCare – namely a renewed focus on beds, social care, and both workforce retention and long-term workforce planning.”
Notes to editor
NHS England: Supplementary ECDS Analysis February 2023 final (12-hour length of stay data measured from the time of arrival) data show:
The latest Emergency Department performance figures published by NHS England for March 2023 for show:
Beds data for March 2023 show:
Five priorities for UK Governments to #ResuscitateEmergencyCare: https://rcem.ac.uk/resuscitating-emergency-care/