A&E crisis plans ‘not good enough’
The plans installed place to alleviate the pressure on A&E units in England aren’t adequate, MPs say.
The Health Select Committee said it were given “confusing” and “contradictory” information regarding what was being done.
It prompted the cross-party group to impeach how prepared the NHS can be for next winter.
The report comes after the NHS missed its four-hour waiting-time target within the first three months of this year.
The MPs said a mix of staffing problems and a scarcity of alternatives in conjunction with rising attendances were one of many main factors for the issues.
Their evidence found just 17% of hospitals had the recommended level of consultant cover, while issues of discharging patients and a scarcity of beds often times meant the flow of patients in the course of the system was disrupted.
In the long-term, the MPs urged NHS medical director Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, who’s leading a review of urgent and emergency care, to watch the weaknesses around the remainder of the health service.
They said there has been a lot more the principle care system, which include GPs, urgent care centres and minor injury units, could do to forestall unnecessary visits to A&E.
The MPs also suggested ambulances may be treating more patients on the scene to cut back the selection of transfers to hospital, while the hot 111 non-emergency phone number had to improve at offering advice.
But the strongest criticism was reserved for the plans which have been installed place to handle the pressures being felt
Earlier this year NHS England announced urgent care boards will be created to form action plans and release money to combat the difficulties being faced.
But within the evidence sessions with senior people within the health service, the MPs were left unclear whether or not they were voluntary or compulsory, temporary or permanent.
The MPs also highlighted differences in data that they had been given concerning the scale of the issues, with vastly different impressions given of delayed discharges from hospital and the increases seen in attendances at A&E.
Health committee chairman Stephen Dorrell said: “The system is ‘flying blind’ without adequate details about the character of the demand being placed upon it.”
He said each area had to have a plan place by the top of September to make certain they were ready for the winter.
“The committee is mindful of pressures a good way to build and is worried that current plans lack sufficient urgency,” he added.
Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said: “How a lot more evidence does the govt. and NHS England need before they take notice?
“The system is under increasing pressure and is coming apart on the seams, the time to behave is now.”
A spokesman for NHS England said it recognised there has been work to be done and action plans can be in place by the fall.
“The committee has raised some key issues,” he added.