‘Ambulance in a room proposal moving not tackling problems’ says SAM past president

Commenting on the announcement of a pilot of ambulance “arrival lounges” at emergency departments, Dr Susan Crossland, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“Following the announcement this week effectively forbidding ambulance handover delays by hospitals comes the launch of airport-style ‘arrival lounges’ in A&Es, with neither offering realistic solutions to the current crises.

“Certainly anything getting ambulances on the road needs to be considered but we do need to see how patient safety in such a scenario will be maintained, such as the proposed staffing mix and level.

“What is being proposed is effectively an ambulance in a room and is therefore moving the problem rather than tackling it.

“Quite where the additional staff will come from given the already massive pressures being faced by staff in ambulance services and hospitals remains to be seen.

“These lounges could end up leading to a deluge of patients receiving inappropriate acute medical care. There is no end in sight to the problems currently and these announcements aren’t the answer.

“As has long been known and highlighted, we need to use alternative pathways to A&E attendance yet the measures which exist and have the potential to make a real difference remain overlooked and under-resourced, such as same day emergency care (SDEC).

“With the problems we are seeing – which will only worsen as we enter the winter season – we need serious action and both short and long term planning, not soundbites and gimmicks which will do little to address the mammoth cracks in our urgent care system.”

31 October 2021