Attendances are up again on the previous year and it is evident that the system is in crisis – the pressures departments usually experience in winter are now being felt almost all year round.
The number of delayed days experienced by patients is at the highest since records began and is clear evidence of a failure in demand management.
Delayed transfer of care is significant cause of exit block which we know is fatal to patients. International studies have consistently shown that lengthy waits in emergency departments are associated with increased deaths, lack of dignified care and stressful working conditions.
A year on year increase of 25% in delayed transfer of care is wholly unacceptable and is in part the result of underfunding in primary and social care.
Action must be taken to address demand and relieve pressure on A&Es.
For millions of patients there are no viable alternatives to A&E, yet we know that up to a third of A&E patients could be better treated elsewhere.
The college has long championed the co-location of services to ease pressure on the A&E department. We strongly urge decision makers to consider the adoption of our ‘Hub’ concept and move to locate other services – including out of hours primary care teams and community pharmacies – around emergency departments.