Hospital Dr News

Extra A&E funding didn’t reach the frontline

Only 1% of the £700m allocated by the government was spent on staff or other resources in their emergency departments.

This is the key finding of research by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine which surveyed 142 clinical leaders in emergency medicine across the UK – representing about two thirds of emergency medicine units.

Off the back of the survey, the college has released a report – called Ignoring the Prescription – which finds that implementation of recommendations to reduce the A&E crisis has been patchy at best.

Last year, four medical royal colleges and many other organisations met to discuss how to make the urgent and emergency care system more resilient. Their report Acute and emergency careprescribing the remedy was published in June and was welcomed by the NHS confederation and the Department of Health in England. But progress has been slow despite an additional cash injection of £700m.

Less than half of EDs in the UK have fully implemented co-located primary care out-of-hours facilities. Less than a third of departments have an appropriate skill mix and workforce in place to deal with their patient volumes and case mix.

It also finds that more than half of departments are not assisted by senior decision makers from in-patient teams at times of peak activity.

The College concludes that a combination of failure to implement consensus recommendations coupled with the failure to invest allocated monies in frontline services has led to extraordinary winter pressures which were largely avoidable.

Dr Clifford Mann, President of the College said: “Throughout the past 18 months we have been working closely with the Department of Health on the challenges facing A&Es over the winter months. It is so disappointing that our survey shows that the significant investment the government made to tackle the winter pressures has not reached the A&Es it was supposed to help.

“This report is an indictment of current decision making and investment in acute and emergency care. Patients and frontline staff deserve better and will be incredulous at the failure to adopt best practice and squander money on admission avoidance schemes that have self-evidently failed. This report should act as a catalyst to ensure the same mistakes are not made in 2015.

“In future it would make much more sense to release funding directly to hospitals for investment in A&Es. Rather than make this an annual winter crisis ritual, long term funding should be targeted on A&Es which will enable Emergency Medicine Clinical Directors to make lasting improvements in patient care.”

Hospitals consistently failed to hit the four hour waiting time target in A&E during 2014.

Dr Stephanie Smith, Chair of the Intercollegiate Committee for Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings, said: “If we are to get to grips with these pressures, we need to be looking seriously not only at sustained investment in urgent and emergency care, but also at the way in which services are set up.  That means co-locating GPs on hospital sites, providing more care in the community and bridging the gap between primary and secondary care to keep children and young people out of hospital wherever possible. Where children do need to be cared for in a hospital setting we need to ensure that all those delivering urgent care are following consistent guidelines and make sure that all emergency departments have the appropriate skill mix and workforce to deliver safe, effective and efficient care.”

Bookmark and Share

2 Responses to “Extra A&E funding didn’t reach the frontline”

  1. Malcolm Morrison says:

    So, if only 1% of the £700m has gone to A&E departments, where has the rest of it gone? Or has it not been ‘released’ yet? If not, why not? Or is this yet abother political ‘gesture’?

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation