A&E's 'struggling to cope'

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.

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Husband dies 'after ambulances delayed at A&E'

On the day doctors warned A&E departments are struggling to cope, a widow has told ITV News her husband died after waiting 50 minutes for an ambulance - only later to be told by the ambulance service that they were delayed trying to hand patients over to hospital staff.

Joyce Pring believes her husband Fred could still be alive if an ambulance had been available to respond to her 999 call.

ITV News' Wales correspondent Emily Morgan reports:

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust said:" We continue to receive more and more calls of a more serious nature and this, combined with increased handover times at hospitals has impacted on our ability to respond to emergency calls.

"Whilst we are beginning to see signs of improvement, we remain concerned by the delays at the hospitals and continue to work with Local Health Boards in minimising these to allow our ambulances to get back into the community and respond to incidents".

Read: Widow's husband dies "after ambulances unable to respond"

Mistakes in the NHS are becoming 'more common'

Specialist clinical negligence solicitor Amy Chater worked as a nurse in the NHS for a number of years. Her firm has seen an increase in mistakes being made in the NHS.

A new report by College of Emergency Medicine found that Accident and Emergency Departments are particularly struggling to cope.

Over the past few years as pressure has increased on Accident and Emergency departments and the NHS generally, we are seeing more examples of clinical negligence and never events.

Problems such as misdiagnosis or failing to diagnose conditions such as strokes are happening more frequently in A&E, as staff are put under more pressure.

We are particularly seeing more cases relating to problems in surgery or with nursing staff not providing suitable care.

I worked as nurse in the NHS for several years and feel that many of the mistakes which are now coming to light are because staff are being put under too much pressure.

I do think we have a fantastic health service but generally they are making more mistakes and patients are suffering.

Wards are chronically under staffed and nurses are particularly being overworked.

They don't make mistakes on purpose but resources are being overstretched.

– Amy Chater, Clinical Negligence Solicitor with Dutton Gregory Llp

NHS payments for A&E patients 'costing hospitals £5m'

Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, said the way the NHS pays hospitals for admitting A&E patients was "broken".

Under current rules, if a hospital admits more A&E patients than it did five years ago, they only get paid 30% of the cost of treating those patients.

Two-thirds of hospitals are admitting more patients than they did five years ago, some as many as 40% more. This means reopening wards and employing more staff to cope with this extra demand.

Yet hospitals only get paid 30% of these costs. Some are losing more than £5 million a year as a result, on top of the 5% savings they're already being required to make.

– Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network

Read: NHS 111 service puts pressure on A&E departments

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A&E in 'danger of collapse in six months'

Chris Hopson, 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.

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

He said: "A&E services have been under huge pressure and although performance is now stabilising, there is a danger the system will fall over in six months time unless we plan effectively for next winter.

"The wider NHS system isn't working effectively. Patients can't get the GP appointments they need, many doctors' out of hours services aren't working in the way they should and patients simply don't know where they should be going to get the right emergency care.

"So up to 30% of people in A&E shouldn't even be there in the first place."

Read: NHS 111 service puts pressure on A&E departments

Hunt: 'Pressure' on A&E after increase in patients

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told ITV's Daybreak that an increase in the amount of people in accident and emergency has created additional pressure on the service.

Mr Hunt said an extra one million people per year use A&E since the coalition government came into power in 2010.

The Health Secretary said he agreed with chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network Chris Hopson that the service is under "pressure".

A&E 'working environments intolerable'

The College of Emergency Medicine has called for urgent reforms of Accident and Emergency Departments.

It is clear that working environments for them (consultants and middle grad doctors) at times are intolerable, associated with risk for them and their patients and that action is required to stabilise our systems.

The report has come at a timely juncture where our regulatory bodies and policy makers have also recognised this to be a crisis and suggested urgent action is merited.

– Taj Hassan, Vice President of the College of Emergency Medicine

A&E 'struggling to cope with demand'

Accident and Emergency Department are struggling to cope with demand
Accident and Emergency Department are struggling to cope with demand Credit: PA

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 found that departments are struggling to cope with "unsustainable workloads" and are chronically understaffed.

The report found that these issues were leading to 6% of all A&E departments reporting 'never events'.

These are accidents such as leaving a surgical implement inside a patient or performing an operation on the wrong part of the body which the NHS insists should never occur.