‘Crisis in UK emergency departments an ongoing national scandal’ – SAM president

Following the release of a report by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) this evening (20 June) which showed more than 90% of A&E doctors said patients are coming to harm due to the current crisis in UK emergency departments, Dr Nick Murch, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “We echo the sentiment from our colleagues at the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, and agree that the crisis taking place in the UK’s emergency departments is an ongoing national scandal which is clearly not getting adequate attention from politicians.

“The figures in this survey from our colleagues in emergency care are not surprising to those that work side-by-side with them on a daily basis. The harm to patients, the reputational damage to our beloved NHS and the moral injury to our staff, forced to deliver substandard care in difficult circumstances, needs to be the key part of the debate. Our patients and staff frankly deserve much better.

“We reemphasise that the focus needs to be across the whole healthcare and social care sector as the terrible situation in the urgent and emergency care system is a symptom of much wider problems. Focussing on the front door alone will not get us out of this dire predicament. 

“We agree that the burden of risk is disproportionately borne by the sickest more elderly patients enduring long waits in emergency departments, corridors, temporary side rooms and ambulances. There is undoubtedly harm being caused by substandard care on trolleys, as well as an obvious increase in the number of deaths of patients when most vulnerable.

“We also strongly encourage the next government, whatever their political persuasion, to commit to fixing the whole of urgent and emergency care, but that cannot be in isolation. The commitment must be to the entire patient journey, and we would welcome being invited to the table to discuss initiatives in the near future.”