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College Of Emergency Medicine Warns On A&E 'Pressure'

The CEM Has Warned The NHS Is Facing 'Intolerable Pressures'


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) has released a report showing just how under pressure the NHS is because of government cuts.

CEM surveyed 1,077 emergency medicine consultants and found 94 per cent worked more than their contracted hours on a regular basis so levels of service could be properly maintained, even though this had a significant impact on their stress levels.

Commenting on this finding, CEM said there may be "serious" repercussions in the quality of care given to patients if this situation is allowed to continue in the medium to long-term.

Earlier this year it was revealed NHS England missed its target of fewer than five per cent of A&E attendees waiting more than four hours before being treated.

On the whole, queues at emergency rooms rose to their highest level in nine years and opposition activists argue this shows the government's austerity measures are starting to hit the most vulnerable people in the UK.

However, government ministers reject this criticism and highlight the recent establishment of a £500 million fund to bail out the most troubled A&E departments as evidence of action being taken to mitigate this problem.

But Jeremy Hunt, the coalition's secretary of state for health, will likely face questions over the CEM's revelation that 62 per cent of emergency doctors reported their job is unsustainable in its current form.

A conclusion in the landmark report read: "The results show a worrying trend. Increasing numbers of consultants who have been trained by the NHS are choosing to use their skills abroad."

These thoughts were reflected by Dr Andrew Goddard of the Royal College of Physicians, who said: "This survey reflects what most consultant physicians observe in their hospital's A&E departments with an unmanageable workload and difficult working conditions that make emergency medicine unattractive to trainees."

A Department of Health spokesperson acknowledged more needs to be done to resolve the situation and said more support will be provided to A&E departments this winter.

Expert Opinion
Accident and Emergency treatment is the front line of NHS treatment and often the first time an injured or ill person comes into contact with medical professionals.

It is crucial that A&E treatment is of the highest standards and the latest figures on missed time targets and overworked staff are worrying because it could clearly have an impact on patient safety.

It is welcome that the Department of Health is acknowledging the problem but what the NHS needs is proper solutions that will have tangible impact on the ground to allow staff to be able to carry out their jobs to the best of their abilities."
Lisa Jordan, Partner