Commenting on the report A&E delays: why did patients wait longer last winter? published by Monitor, Dr Alistair Douglas, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “This is a timely and welcome report ahead of what we expect to be another very busy winter period.
“It reinforces the root causes of problems with patient flow in our hospitals, with bed capacity issues stretching the system to breaking point last winter and, until action is taken to improve social care funding, many patients who are ready to be discharged will remain in hospital unnecessarily.
“As a result, hospitals will become victims of unrelenting groundhog winters, with a lack of beds for patients being admitted to hospital grinding services to a halt.
“That means beds not being available for patients when they need to be moved out of A&E and will push hospitals to breaking point year-on-year without urgent action to address the problem.
“Additionally, co-location of primary care services with A&E departments – but also near to acute medical units and critical care wherever possible – would further reduce the strain on emergency care. We must also move to effective seven-day services which means discharge planning, therapy support, pharmacy and community services being responsive at weekends and public holidays.”