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Top Emergency Medicine doctors: scrapping the four-hour target will have a “near catastrophic impact on patient safety”

29 January 2019

The body representing over 8,000 Emergency Medicine clinicians, The Royal College of Emergency Medicine, is extremely concerned by the comments made by the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, at yesterday’s Health and Social Care Committee.

Mr Stevens confirmed that the hospital target of admitting, treating or discharging all A&E patients within four-hours is to be significantly altered. This College has not been consulted on what will be a fundamental change to the practice of Emergency Medicine and will have a significant impact on patients and hospital staff.

President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Taj Hassan said: “In our expert opinion scrapping the four-hour target will have a near catastrophic impact on patient safety in many Emergency Departments that are already struggling to deliver safe patient care in a wider system that is failing badly.

“We will be seeking urgent clarification from NHS England and NHS Improvement on their position and describing the likely unintended consequences of such a poorly thought out strategic policy shift. We will also make our position and concerns clear to the Secretary of State, Matt Hancock.

“Let’s be very clear. This is far from being in the best interest of patients and will only serve to bury problems in a health service that will be severely tested by yet another optimistic reconfiguration.”

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