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