SAM response to NHS Confederation report “Emergency care: an accident waiting to happen?”

Press release: strictly embargoed until 08/09/2013 00:01

Society for Acute Medicine response to NHS Confederation report “Emergency care: an accident waiting to happen?”

Dr Chris Roseveare, SAM President said: “This document provides a stark reminder of the ongoing pressures faced by emergency departments and acute medical units across the UK. The causes of these pressures are complex and because of this there is not going to be a single, simple solution. A collaborative approach across primary and secondary care and between health and social care will be essential.

“The well-publicised staffing and recruitment crisis in emergency medicine across the UK is creating a huge challenge for many hospitals and is placing existing staff under immense pressure. Healthcare professionals working both within and outside hospitals have a responsibility to support the delivery of high quality acute care for patients, seven days per week. In some cases this may require clinicians to work differently, crossing traditional boundaries to support their colleagues in the emergency department, or to ensure the rapid transfer of patients to a speciality in-patient or community team.

“Acute medical units are a key part of the solution to emergency department overcrowding, ensuring that patients who require hospital admission are able to move rapidly into a hospital bed. However this ‘patient flow’ is dependent on a hospital’s ability to maintain spare bed capacity. Too many hospitals run at 100% occupancy for too much of the time, despite evidence that suggests that greater efficiency is achieved with occupancy below 85%. Maintaining spare capacity in hospitals, such that every day starts with empty beds in acute admitting areas, would provide a major step forward in achieving the timely admission of patients from the emergency department.”

Earlier this year, the Society for Acute Medicine, NHS Confederation, Royal College of Physicians and College of Emergency Medicine collaborated to produce a 10-point plan to ease emergency pressures. It is crucial that these are now addressed as quickly as possible.


Notes to the editors:

  • Acute medicine (also known as acute internal medicine) is the specialty which deals with the immediate and early treatment of adult patients with a variety of medical conditions who present in hospital as emergencies.
  • The Society for Acute Medicine is the national representative body for the specialty of acute medicine and represents over a thousand members.
  • The full document will be available on the NHS Confederation website on Sunday 8 September 2013.


Claire Charras
Communications and Marketing Executive
Society for Acute Medicine
07 985 49 49 65

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