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A&E usage at highest in a decade


15 December 2014

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Industry experts are calling for a “better support” in the primary care sector following reports that A&E usage is at a ten-year high.

The NHS England’s ‘Winter Health Check’ showed that in the week ending 7th December there were 436,229 attendances – a 30,000 increase on previous years.

The number of people receiving treatment within four hours of attending A&E has also dropped from 94.8% to 91.8%.

Industry experts are calling for a “better support” in the primary care sector following reports that A&E usage is at a ten-year high.

The NHS England’s ‘Winter Health Check’ showed that in the week ending 7th December there were 436,229 attendances – a 30,000 increase on previous years.

The number of people receiving treatment within four hours of attending A&E has also dropped from 94.8% to 91.8%.

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

 “Last year’s winter pressures on hospitals and A&E never went away – our health service is now running at capacity all year round, and a bad winter could spell disaster.

“Staff are working incredibly hard to care for record numbers of patients, but the system is failing both staff and patients. 

“District nurse numbers have been slashed, and a lack of community services means people are trapped in hospitals. Trusts can’t hire enough nurses because of cuts to training places. All of this adds to the pressure on A&E services.

Dr Mark Porter, British Medical Association Chair believes: “these figures point to a system cracking under extreme pressure, leading to unacceptable delays in care.

 

“While the NHS is used to seeing a spike in demand during winter months, this year it’s experienced a spring, summer and autumn crisis as well, leaving no spare capacity in hospitals as we hit winter.

 

“Front-line staff are working flat-out but the system can’t cope with the sheer number of patients coming through the door. So far there has been a total failure by government to come up with a meaningful plan to deal with this – funding announced recently to tackle winter pressures is simply recycled money, taken from other overstretched services.

“To alleviate pressure on the system we need to ensure people are better supported to self-care where appropriate, and that they get the right advice first time round on where to seek treatment so as to avoid unnecessary trips to A&E”

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