SAM past president warns current pressures and lack of respite ‘extremely worrying ahead of next onslaught’

Following today’s article in The Independent on concerns raised by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine about current pressures and patient safety, Dr Nick Scriven, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “It is extremely worrying we are facing such pressures and problems at a time when, traditionally, urgent medical admissions might dip slightly giving staff relative respite to draw breath before the next autumn/winter onslaught.

“Hospitals are striving to catch up elective (non-urgent) work – filling any available bed – and this has a knock-on as it leaves non-elective (urgent) patients without downstream beds, therefore blocking the assessment wards.

“This is particularly hitting the surgical side and it is now common to have “surgical boarders” on acute medical wards – this is not sustainable.

“The availability of current alternate pathways for quick medical advice, whether that be primarily GP/community-based services or access to more urgent secondary care specialist advice, needs addressing urgently and consideration given to the impact of reduced face-to-face access.”