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  1. ITV Report

A&E collapse fear as departments 'struggle to cope'

File photo of an ambulance outside the entrance to a hospital Accident & Emergency. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Accident and Emergency departments are struggling to cope with demand and need a major overhaul, according to a new report by the College of Emergency Medicine.

It claimed the departments struggle to cope with "unsustainable workloads" and are chronically understaffed.

The report said these issues were leading to 6% of all A&E departments reporting so-called "never events" - accidents such as leaving a surgical implement inside a patient or performing an operation on the wrong part of the body.

ITV News North of England correspondent Martin Geissler reports from Leeds General Infirmary:

The chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, which represents more than 200 health trusts in England, warned that A&E services were in danger of collapse in six months.

Chris Hopson said the departments are under "huge pressure" and the wider NHS service "isn't working" effectively".

Responding to Mr Hopson's comments, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told ITV's Daybreak a million more people go to A&E every year since the coalition Government came into office, "which creates pressure".

Mr Hunt said: "We also need to look at the long-term issues here, and one of them is the disastrous changes to the GP contract in 2004 which removed responsibility for out-of-hours care from GPs.

"Since then I'm afraid the public has lost confidence in that out-of-hours GP provision", he added.

Groups representing GPs have complained about the Health Secretary's attack on out-of-hours coverage.

Royal College of General Practitioners chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada said she was "aghast at the constant denigration of my profession".

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