Select committee right that A&E pressures need urgent action

24 Jul 2013 11:19 AM

Commenting on the Health Select Committee's report, Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

"The Health Select Committee has produced a comprehensive report looking at the strains on our urgent care system and has rightly concluded that the current unsustainable pressures are caused by a complex cocktail of factors.


"Our members have been telling us that the pressures on their services are increasing year on year. We urgently need long-term action to ease the growing burdens on service and staff, and make the system work better for patients.

"A single portal for accessing unplanned urgent healthcare, and use of a patient's unique NHS number across the health and social care system, would help address some of the pressures, and be better for patients as well as better for the service.

"Most importantly, we need to rebalance the NHS's investment in primary and community-based health services, and ensure the payment system does not inadvertently reward or penalise NHS services for meeting patient's needs.

"The committee's suggestion that NHS England needs better information to help resolve the current crisis is spot on. But we know that organisations and staff are already required to supply a huge amount of data to a wide variety of organisations. It's therefore crucial we use the information to hand to help us improve systems, before any more burden is placed on the NHS.

"The NHS Confederation is currently working with its members from right across the health system to help ease the bureaucratic burden as part of our review on reducing bureaucracy. It is this kind of work that will free up staff to do what they do best, and that is caring for patients."

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said:

“This is another report that raises the prospect of a very challenging winter. Employers know that safe staffing is an essential element of care but they face significant pressures. 

“Recruiting to A&E medical roles can be particularly challenging at present and employers are working creatively to try and recruit to planned levels. It's welcome to receive a report that recognises that remuneration isn't the answer to every staff issue. But doctor numbers are only part of the solution and it’s essential that the teamwork, training and supervision of associated workers continues too.

"There is a lot of work taking place to develop those other roles that help manage the pressure in A&E, including clinical nursing specialists and physicians assistants. But it is also clear that we need medical pay contract reform to help ensure better staffing at weekends and a radical look at how services are delivered."


Notes to Editors

The NHS Confederation represents all organisations that commission and provide NHS services. It is the only membership body to bring together and speak on behalf of the whole of the NHS. We help the NHS to guarantee high standards of care for patients and best value for taxpayers by representing our members and working together with our health and social care partners.

We make sense of the whole health system, influence health policy and deliver industry-wide support functions for the NHS.

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