The UK will "walk blindfold into another winter crisis" in hospital care if recommendations put forward in a report by leading doctors are not implemented and the strain is left on A&E services, a medical chief said.
Royal College of Physicians president Sir Richard Thompson said:
Over the past few years, services for ill patients have been stretched by the sheer amount of acute and emergency admissions, and we have to plan better for the future to protect patient safety.
These 13 recommendations are practical, evidence-based, and produced by doctors who care for patients daily - if we do not implement them, we shall simply walk blindfold into another winter crisis.
Doctors from the College of Emergency Medicine, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons, want every emergency department should have a co-located primary care out-of-hours facility.
Patients should not be expected to determine whether or not their injury is serious enough to warrant a trip to A&E or minor enough to contact a GP and should have access to both levels of care, doctors said.
However, the recommended it was inappropriate to expect A&E to deal with "anything and everything".