A&E wards are cracking under the strain of long working hours and a lack of specially trained senior doctors, research has found. The College of Emergency Medicine found a staggering 94% of A&E doctors worked more than their contracted hours.
Improvements in working conditions in A&E will go ahead if recommended by NHS chiefs and not from independent research, the Government has said.
Despite a damning survey showing 62% of emergency doctors thought their job was unsustainable in its current form, the Department of Health decided to wait for Sir Bruce Keogh's report.
We know we need to do more to support emergency departments to do their important work through winter and beyond.
That is why we are investing £500 million in A&E over the next two years and we tasked Health Education England with developing plans to encourage more medical students to become A&E doctors in the future.
We have asked Professor Sir Bruce Keogh to carry out a review to look at the demands on services and how the NHS should respond. Sir Bruce is due to report and share his recommendations very shortly.
Making consultancy in emergency medicine more attractive as a career needs to be "a matter of priority" if A&E services are to continue, the Royal College of Physicians has said.
Dr Andrew Goddard hit out at current provisions in the wake of research showing how understaffed A&E is becoming - 21 emergency medicine consultants emigrated in the last year alone.
This survey reflects what most consultant physicians observe in their hospital's A&E departments with an unmanageable workload and difficult working conditions that make emergency medicine unattractive to trainees.
Finding ways to make consultant working in hospital medicine more attractive where such conditions exist is one of the key challenges facing the NHS at the moment and needs to be addressed as a matter of priority.
– Dr Andrew Goddard of the Royal College of Physicians
The number of A&E units failing to meet the Government four-hour target has almost trebled in a year.
Some 39 departments failed to meet the target of seeing 95% of patients within four hours during the period July to September, compared with 14 units during the same period in 2012, according to NHS England data.