23 September 2021
Commenting on the publication of the Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) Recovery 10 Point Action Plan by NHS England yesterday, Dr Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:
“We welcome this 10-point action plan published by NHS England. The College has consistently called for a comprehensive plan to tackle the increasing pressures and we are pleased to see this framework for recovery that covers vital aspects of urgent and emergency care. It will be a welcome assurance for many staff.
“Ambulance services and Emergency departments are getting so busy that there is a real risk of patient harm unless we all take urgent action now. This framework is a good starting point. But we must see the ambitions of this plan translated into effective action.
“We welcome the plans to use the new metrics: time to initial assessment; the number of patients spending 12 hours in A&E from time of arrival; the number of patients spending more than one hour in A&E after being declared clinically ready to proceed. These metrics will give local and regional teams a clear picture of the pressure points and where they need to focus. They also provide welcome clarity on targets, following a period in which Emergency Departments have been in a performance framework ‘vacuum’. Now, hospitals will be able to better develop targeted action plans that will improve urgent and emergency patient care and experience.
“This plan makes plain the expectation that there should be no corridor care or patients waiting in ambulances for handover. Corridor care must become a thing of the past, we cannot allow it to return, and if it does, find tangible solutions. Similarly, patients must never be delayed in an ambulance outside an Emergency Department, there must be quick effective action plan to manage these delays when they arise.
“Improving the efficacy of NHS 111, maximising the use of Same Day Emergency Care, optimising referrals and resourcing community health services and primary care services are vital to alleviating pressures on Emergency Departments.
“We are pleased to see NHS England highlight the urgent need to address health inequalities and tackle them. As part of levelling up, we hope both the government and Department of Health and Social Care will support NHS England and the College in our work to address these issues.
“Finally, we welcome NHS England’s pledge for a long-term workforce plan for the urgent and emergency care workforce, we await further details on this but reiterate that the College has estimated it needs an additional 2,500 consultants along with sufficient numbers of nurses; allied health professionals; SAS doctors; and trainees.”
Notes to Editor