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Rise in A&E consultants

Step in the right direction for patient care.

The rise in A&E consultants working in Scotland’s NHS has been welcomed as a “significant step in the right direction” by the College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) yesterday.

The rise in senior front-line staff is one example of the positive changes brought about through joint work between Scottish Government and the CEM.

The comments come ahead of the next meeting between Health Secretary Alex Neil and the CEM, which is due to take place in June.

Mr Neil has pledged to use the meeting to discuss the CEM’s 10 point plan for emergency medicine including the recruitment of consultants, evening and weekend working and progress from the seven day task group recently launched by Mr Neil.

Mr Neil said:

“The fact that our A&E departments have more consultants, 18 of which are a direct result of our A&E action plan, is testimony to how seriously we are about supporting our NHS to improve emergency services.

“It also shows what can be achieved through joint working with NHS boards and other key stakeholders, like the College of Emergency Medicine.

“I would like to thank the College for continuing to share their valuable insight with us and support our work to ensure we have the best system possible.

“By supporting our investment in, and commitment to, Emergency Medicine in Scotland the College is helping to us to make real progress, like additional staff.

“It should go without saying that the other group we need to thank is our NHS staff, however I am clear that we must never forget to acknowledge our staff.

“Through the never failing commitment of our staff we are seeing the improvements to unscheduled care for patients across Scotland.

“Of course I know that there are still further challenges ahead of us. The CEM’s 10 point plan is an important document that needs serious consideration. That is why I will be discussing it with them in detail at our meeting in June and I hope we can continue to build on the progress already made.”

Dr Jason Long, College of Emergency Medicine Scotland Chair said:

“Through the joint work between Scottish Government and the College of Emergency Medicine the number of emergency medicine consultants across Scotland has increased significantly over the last few years.

“Both parties recognise there is much more work to be done, but acknowledge this is a very significant step in the right direction. Joint action is being pursued to address the ten points raised by the CEM Scottish Board yesterday through the continuing work of the unscheduled care expert group."

The increased pressure on emergency medicine is not unique to Scotland. A&E departments right across the UK are facing the challenge of treating more people with more complex health issue. The Scottish Government launched a £50 million Unscheduled Care Action Plan in February 2013 to tackle the issue – a step that hasn’t been taken in other areas of the UK.

Background

There has been 121.2 per cent increase in A&E consultants (91.8 WTE more, from 75.8 to 167.6) since 2007. This includes 18 A&E consultants recruited under the three year unscheduled care action plan.

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