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NHS cash promise details ‘crucial’

A senior medic has said details of the £20 billion a year cash promise for the NHS announced by prime minister Theresa May will be “crucial” to its impact.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said it was a “welcome boost” but it must be spent on “proven effective measures”.

“This cash promise from the prime minister is a welcome boost for the NHS but, as usual, the details will be crucial to see what will be helped but at what cost and which areas remain at financial risk,” he said.

“There are so many areas of the NHS, both in and out of hospitals, that need money and it is the responsibility of the health service to use it wisely and in areas where the most benefit will be felt.”

He added: “It must translate to better care for the many poorly people who depend on urgent and emergency care as well as doing something for those reliant on primary care.”

Dr Scriven spoke out ahead of Acute Medicine Awareness Week (18 to 22 June), which will see staff in acute medical units across the country undertake activities and provide information for patients and visitors to improve understanding of the specialty.

Acute medicine, also known as acute internal medicine, deals with the immediate and early treatment of adult patients with a variety of medical conditions who present to hospital as emergencies.

The specialty receives the majority of patients admitted from A&E and plays a vital role in maintaining the flow of patients through emergency departments to avoid exit block, the term used when patients cannot be moved into a hospital bed.

He said the announcement of further funding for the NHS would provide an opportunity to utilise and enhance the areas of healthcare which have proven successful despite a squeeze on resources.

“Additional funding in the NHS must be spent on proven effective measures and not smaller so-called vanity projects that may have vociferous media profiles,” he said.

“Acute medicine has been at the forefront of developing seven-day acute care services, as well as ambulatory care, and has overseen reductions in length of hospital stays, mortality and readmission rates.

“Its success has resulted in many people not needing to stay in hospital more than 24 hours who previously might have stayed three days or more.”

He added: “Now the money seems forthcoming we call on leaders to put acute medicine at the centre of their strategy to get our hospitals working again.

“It will be imperative for the secretary of state to meet with a broad range of staff at the sharp end of acute care to discuss the next steps and the implementation of additional resources.”

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