Senior medic says sustained drop in A&E numbers a “ticking timebomb”

Following the release today of A&E performance data for April which shows the lowest number of attendances reported since the collection began, Dr Nick Scriven, immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

“The sustained drop in A&E attendances is a significant concern given that many of those who have put off coming to hospitals as long as they possibly could during the first wave will be seeking treatment and could potentially be in worse conditions.

“This is a ticking timebomb in itself and it will be exacerbated by a myriad of other pressures in the coming weeks as hospitals adapt to running parallel units for infected or possibly infected acute work alongside elective work.

“There will be an ongoing need to keep people with coronavirus separate from others to prevent transmission, with segregated wards effectively reducing immediately available beds, so attempting to manage increased demand will be very challenging.

“I am also highly concerned about the resilience of staff who have been working flat out with little time for recovery, which means they will continue suffer personal sacrifice as we move through the stages of this crisis.”