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.
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