MedTech logo

t: 0161 820 8440



Is A&E the right place for urgent cases?

14 November 2013

NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh said the current system is under "intense, growing and unsustainable pressure" caused by increasing numbers of people turning to A&E, an ageing population and "confusion" over existing services.

His report calls for an overhaul of the system in England to treat more people in their own homes and keep them out of A&E.

"Ambulances already when they pick up somebody with major injuries take them to designated trauma centres, they already take people with heart attacks to specific designated heart attack centres and similarly for strokes.

"We have shown that when you do that, that despite initial concerns that the additional travel time would create problems, that the outcomes for patients are significantly better."

Transforming urgent and emergency care services in England calls for a dramatic rise in the proportion of urgent care delivered closer to home.

But it warns that ‘many people are struggling to navigate and access a confusing and inconsistent array of urgent care services provided outside of hospital, so they default to A&E’.

Sir Bruce says A&E is a ‘trusted brand’, with an average wait of just 50 minutes for treatment and most patients treated within four hours.

But in a letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England chairman Sir Malcolm Grant, he warns: ‘The opportunities for bringing about a shift from hospital to home are enormous.

‘We know that 40% of patients attending A&E are discharged requiring no treatment at all; there were over 1m avoidable hospital admissions last year; and up to 50% of 999 calls requiring an ambulance to be dispatched could be managed at the scene.’

Read the full report at the NHS England webiste:

back to news listing

Supported by:

Central Manchester University Hospitals logoManchester Science Parks logoTrusTECH logo