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RCEM: Preventative actions needed to maintain vital Emergency Care system through winter

21 September 2020

Commenting on today’s coronavirus update from the Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Adviser, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Katherine Henderson said:

“We understand the seriousness of the situation and fully support the message; we must do all that we can to protect vulnerable patients from a second wave.

“Balancing actions to slow the spread of infection and protecting the economy is understandably difficult and going too far either way will undoubtedly have consequences for people’s health.

“There is a real need to maintain a functioning Emergency Care system. This is the frontline for our most vulnerable patients who are seriously ill whether with Covid-19 or other medical emergencies and we cannot risk not being able to deliver this care.

“As Professor Whitty made clear, if the NHS is spending a large proportion of effort on fighting Covid, it means a reduction in activity elsewhere including long term treatments and prevention of ill health. This means we are storing up more problems for the future

“We also recognise that we all must do our bit to slow the spread so that we can maintain regular healthcare. We support and encourage our healthcare staff to wear the correct PPE; to isolate when necessary, and to think about how to reduce contact with others as far as possible both inside of work and out. We know staff are tired, but we need a workforce going into this winter and we must make our working practice as safe as possible, and Trusts need to do what they can to protect staff.

“The last thing we want is for Emergency Departments to be the source of nosocomial infection, so it is really important that EDs do not get crowded.

“We echo the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and ask patients and the public to follow the advice, isolate when you have symptoms and reduce unnecessary contact in order reduce their risk of contracting the virus and to help the NHS get through the difficult winter ahead of us.”

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