November 18, 2013
To head off a “catastrophe” they plan to outline a raft of key measures to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt this week.
Dr Cliff Mann, president of The College of Emergency Medicine, said: “It is vital patients are given a credible alternative to A&E for out-of-hours services and that we have more emergency medicine registrars.
“If that doesn’t happen the system will fail. Add to that the expected winter norovirus and flu and these failures could become catastrophic, leading to preventable deaths.”
The move comes just days after Mr Hunt unveiled the latest in a series of proposals to transform the troubled NHS.
New figures show as many as 44 per cent of patients are visiting A&E or call an ambulance because they cannot get out-of-hours care. A quarter self-diagnose on the internet. Law firm Your Legal Friend polled 1,500 patients and 400 UK doctors for its research.
Separate figures also revealed exclusively by the Sunday Express show a huge surge in patients having to wait between four and 12 hours in A&E for a ward bed, almost doubling in two years from 100,000 to 180,000.
“Toxic overcrowding” is when patients’ lives or health are at risk due to emergency services being unable to cope with demand. The College Of Emergency Medicine has been warning about the scale of the problem.