Urgent need to boost beds, staff and social care to ease A&E waits

14 June 2022

Responding to a Royal College of Emergency Medicine report about accident and emergency (A&E) waiting times, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers Miriam Deakin said:

"Nobody in the NHS wants people to have to endure long waits. But emergency services continue to be stretched and under constant strain.

"Long waits in busy A&E departments are a symptom of the pressure on the whole health and care system.

"Hospitals are struggling to discharge people who are well enough to go home as quickly as they'd like to, in large part due to significant pressures on social care capacity, particularly home care. Coupled with rising demand post-pandemic this has a serious knock-on effect on timely admissions from A&E and on the handover of patients from ambulances.

"NHS staff are moving heaven and earth to improve the flow of patients, ramp up activity and bring down waiting times. Their hard work is paying off but COVID-19 hasn't gone away and demand for services still outstrips capacity.

"The harsh reality of staff shortages, an underfunded social care system and a fragile domiciliary care market means the system remains under pressure. We need an urgent and emergency care strategy that looks at pressures beyond hospitals and incorporates, where appropriate, changes set out in the clinically-led review of standards."

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