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Two sides to every coin – Dr Mark Holland, the Society for Acute Medicine

Dr Mark Holland, President of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “The Society for Acute Medicine has consistently asked for acute and emergency services to be judged by more sophisticated measures than the four-hour emergency access target.

“However, downgrading the value of the four-hour target because of financial pressures in the NHS is wrong. The four-hour access target is a barometer of a hospital’s total performance.”

“The problem was the interpretation and implementation of the target. Instead of taking a whole systems approach to solve the target, too much emphasis was placed on front of house services.”

“Dropping the four-hour access target now is akin to a boxer throwing in the towel.”

“We are now left in a position where there is a significantly reduced imperative for high-quality care to be delivered and the explicit reason appears to be financial instability.”

“We have consistently tried to make the public aware that our acute and emergency medical services are at breaking point. We wanted improved measurements of quality; we did not want the creation of a lawless health service.”

“Is this finally an acknowledgment that acute and emergency medical services in the NHS are broken?”

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