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A&E staff face 'breaking point'

Prolonged wintry conditions or another outbreak of norovirus will see A&E departments across the country reach "breaking point". The warning from NHS leaders came as surveyed medics, nurses and voters all claimed patients are at an increasing risk.

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A&E pressures clouded in 'ill-informed debate'

The A&E front line predicts the NHS will struggle to cope during the coming winter. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive

Misleading and ill-informed debate about the reasons behind A&E pressures is preventing the health service from addressing the actual causes, according to a survey of senior health service leaders.

The majority of those questioned by the NHS Confederation said the strain was down to the rising number of frail older people with multiple long term problems, followed by the difficulty in discharging or transferring patients into appropriate further care.

The new 111 phone service has come under intense pressure but the poll found that 79% of those asked said they did not think it a big cause of the strain on A&E departments.

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