MPs urge failing A&E pay incentives

Pay incentives should be used to hire specialist emergency doctors for struggling A&E wards, MPs have suggested. The Public Accounts Committee warned A&E services had been "hampered" by a lack of emergency consultants.

Govt: 'No easy fix' to A&E recruitment shortage

The Government has hit out at claims it has no clear plan for aiding struggling A&E services and claimed there "was no easy fix" to the problem.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said successive Governments had failed to come up with a recruitment plan to train and hire specialist emergency care doctors.

Working with the College of Emergency Medicine we have a clear strategy to tackle the shortage, and have 414 more A&E consultants than there were in 2009, as well as filling all training places for doctors choosing to specialise in A&E.

It takes six years to train an A&E consultant, and there is no easy fix - but our long-term plans are robust, increasing the number of training places by 75 next year, and planning for all trainee doctors to spend time in A&E.

– Dr Dan Poulter

Read: 'Chronic shortage' of staff hindering A&E improvements

'Chronic shortage' of staff hindering A&E improvements

The "chronic shortage" of trained A&E doctors is suffocating any attempts to improve emergency admissions services, the head of the Public Accounts Committee has warned.

Margaret Hodge criticised the NHS' reliance on temporary staff, which she dubbed "expensive" and not capable of offering "the same quality of service".

Any attempt to improve emergency admissions services in the NHS is being completely stymied by the chronic shortage of specialist A&E consultants.

Nearly one fifth of consultant posts in emergency departments were either vacant or filled by locums in 2012. There are also major problems in training enough doctors in emergency medicine.

What we found amazing is that neither the Department nor NHS England has a clear strategy to tackle the shortage of A&E consultants.

With many hospitals struggling to fill vacant posts for A&E consultants, there is too much reliance on temporary staff to fill gaps.

– Margaret Hodge

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MPs call for doctors to be 'enticed' into struggling A&Es

Specially trained emergency care doctors should be enticed to work at struggling hospitals by higher pay, a group of MPs has said.

Read: Repeat patients increase pressure on A&E

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PAC criticised the Department of Health and NHS England for not having a "clear strategy" to combat overwhelmed A&E services. Credit: PA

The influential Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said struggling A&E services had been "hampered" by a lack of consultant care.

They also criticised both the Department of Health and NHS England for not having a "clear strategy for tackling the chronic shortage of A&E consultants".

"Many hospitals, especially those facing the greatest challenges, struggle to fill vacant posts for A&E consultants," the report states.

"There is too great a reliance on temporary staff to fill gaps, which is expensive and does not offer the same quality of service."

Read: Govt funding relief for A&Es

Read: Doctors 'handed up to £3,000 a shift' to plug rota gaps