A&E cuts will hit 23m people, British Medical Association says

Nearly 23 million people in England – more than 40% of the population – could be affected by proposed cuts to A&E departments, doctors are warning | BBC News

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The analysis of NHS plans by the British Medical Association also warned the changes were being rushed through without the evidence they will work. The proposals have been put forward by local managers seeking to make savings under the direction of NHS England. Bosses have argued services in the community will be boosted in return.

Under the so-called “sustainability and transformation programme” (STP), England has been divided into 44 areas and each asked to come up with its own proposals.

After analysing local plans, the BMA found:

  • 18 of them, covering a population of 22.9 million, involved the closing or downgrading of an A&E department
  • 14 of them, responsible for 17.6 million patients, propose closing or merging a hospital
  • 13 of them, covering a population of 14.7 million, have put forward closing hospital beds

Read the full news story here

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Patient and service-provider perspectives for treating primary care complaints in urgent care settings

An investigation into why patients chose to attend two, nurse-led, minor injury units (MIUs) to access primary healthcare services rather than attend their GP practice | International Emergency Nursing

Highlights:

  • Patients with non-urgent conditions are increasingly attending urgent care providers in the UK.
  • Consumerist notions of choice and expediency influence healthcare decision making.
  • Patients seem to be acting rationally in response to healthcare policy promises.
  • Providing treatment establishes precedent and expectation for future care.
  • Co-located primary care, working alongside ENP services, offer benefits for local communities.

Full reference: Sturgeon, D. (2017) Convenience, quality and choice: Patient and service-provider perspectives for treating primary care complaints in urgent care settings. International Emergency Nursing. Published online: 26 June 2017

Occupational stress in the ED

Occupational stress is a major modern health and safety challenges. While the ED is known to be a high-pressure environment, the specific organisational stressors which affect ED staff have not been established | Emergency Medicine Journal

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Methods: We conducted a systematic review of literature examining the sources of organisational stress in the ED, their link to adverse health outcomes and interventions designed to address them. A narrative review of contextual factors that may contribute to occupational stress was also performed. All articles written in English, French or Spanish were eligible for conclusion. Study quality was graded using a modified version of the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale.

Results: Twenty-five full-text articles were eligible for inclusion in our systematic review. Most were of moderate quality, with two low-quality and two high-quality studies, respectively. While high demand and low job control were commonly featured, other studies demonstrated the role of insufficient support at work, effort–reward imbalance and organisational injustice in the development of adverse health and occupational outcomes. We found only one intervention in a peer-reviewed journal evaluating a stress reduction programme in ED staff.

Conclusions: Our review provides a guide to developing interventions that target the origins of stress in the ED. It suggests that those which reduce demand and increase workers’ control over their job, improve managerial support, establish better working relationships and make workers’ feel more valued for their efforts could be beneficial. We have detailed examples of successful interventions from other fields which may be applicable to this setting.

Full reference: Basu, S. et al. (2017) Occupational stress in the ED: a systematic literature review. Emergency Medicine Journal. 34:441-447.

Emergency medicine: what keeps me, what might lose me?

EDs are currently under intense pressure due to increased patient demand. There are major issues with retention of senior personnel, making the specialty a less attractive choice for junior doctors | Emergency Medicine Journal

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This study aims to explore what attracted EM consultants to their career and keeps them there. It is hoped this can inform recruitment strategies to increase the popularity of EM to medical students and junior doctors, many of whom have very limited EM exposure.

Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 consultants from Welsh EDs using a narrative approach.

Results: Three main themes emerged that influenced the career choice of the consultants interviewed: (1) early exposure to positive EM role models; (2) non-hierarchical team structure; (3) suitability of EM for flexible working. The main reason for consultants leaving was the pressure of work impacting on patient care.

Conclusion: The study findings suggest that EM consultants in post are positive about their careers despite the high volume of consultant attrition. This study reinforces the need for dedicated undergraduate EM placements to stimulate interest and encourage medical student EM aspirations. Consultants identified that improving the physical working environment, including organisation, would increase their effectiveness and the attractiveness of EM as a long-term career.

Full reference: James, F. & Gerrard, F. (2017) Emergency medicine: what keeps me, what might lose me? A narrative study of consultant views in Wales. Emergency Medicine Journal. 34:436-440

Risk factors for admission at three urban emergency departments in England

An investigation into factors associated with unscheduled admission following presentation to emergency departments (EDs) at three hospitals in England | BMJ Open

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Design and setting: Cross-sectional analysis of attendance data for patients from three urban EDs in England: a large teaching hospital and major trauma centre (site 1) and two district general hospitals (sites 2 and 3). Variables included patient age, gender, ethnicity, deprivation score, arrival date and time, arrival by ambulance or otherwise, a variety of ED workload measures, inpatient bed occupancy rates and admission outcome. Coding inconsistencies in routine ED data used for this study meant that diagnosis could not be included.

Results: Outcome data were available for 19 721 attendances (>99%), of whom 6263 (32%) were admitted to hospital. Site 1 was set as the baseline site for analysis of admission risk. Risk of admission was significantly greater at sites 2 and 3 (adjusted OR (AOR) relative to site 1 for site 2 was 1.89, 95% CI 1.74 to 2.05, p<0.001) and for patients of black or black British ethnicity (AOR 1.29, 1.16 to 1.44, p<0.001). Deprivation was strongly associated with admission. Analysis of departmental and hospital-wide workload pressures gave conflicting results, but proximity to the “4-hour target” (a rule that limits patient stays in EDs to 4 hours in the National Health Service in England) emerged as a strong driver for admission in this analysis (AOR 3.61, 95% CI 3.30 to 3.95, p<0.001).

Conclusion: This study found statistically significant variations in odds of admission between hospital sites when adjusting for various patient demographic and presentation factors, suggesting important variations in ED-level and clinician-level behaviour relating to admission decisions. The 4-hour target is a strong driver for emergency admission.

Full reference: Ismail, S.A. et al. (2017) Risk factors for admission at three urban emergency departments in England: a cross-sectional analysis of attendances over 1 month. BMJ Open. 7:e011547

Prevalence of non-accidental trauma among children at ACS verified pediatric trauma centers

Child abuse remains a national epidemic that has detrimental effects if unnoticed in the clinical setting | Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery

Background: Extreme cases of child abuse, or non-accidental trauma (NAT), have large financial burdens associated with them due to treatment costs and long-term effects of abuse. Clinicians that have additional training and experience with pediatric trauma are better equipped to detect signs of NAT and have more experience reporting it. This additional training and experience can be measured by using the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Pediatric Trauma Verification. It is hypothesized that ACS verified Pediatric Trauma Centers (vPTCs) have an increased prevalence of NAT due to this additional experience and training when relative to non-ACS vPTCs.

Conclusions: The greater prevalence of NAT at vPTCs likely represents a more accurate measure of NAT among pediatric trauma patients, likely due to more experience and training of clinicians.

Full reference: Bogumil, D.D.A. et al. (2017) Prevalence of non-accidental trauma among children at ACS verified pediatric trauma centers. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: Published online: 20 June 2017

 

Ultrasound for children with abdominal trauma

Despite evidence showing that the routine use of sonography in hospital emergency departments can safely improve care for adults when evaluating for possible abdominal trauma injuries, researchers at UC Davis Medical Center could not identify any significant improvements in care for pediatric trauma patients | ScienceDaily

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The findings, which resulted from a randomized clinical study involving 925 children with blunt torso trauma who were evaluated in the emergency department at the medical center, showed no difference in important clinical outcomes. The outcomes assessed were developed for the study mainly based on previous research in injured adults.

The UC Davis team investigated the Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) to determine whether the use of the FAST examination could safely lead to a decrease in the use of computed tomography (CT) scans for children, and other outcomes. FAST is a bedside ultrasound examination using a portable ultrasound machine. It has not been routinely used in the initial emergency department evaluations of injured children. CT scans represent the “gold standard” in diagnostic imaging for clinicians, including the identification of intra-abdominal injuries, but they also pose a greater radiation risk for children than they do for adults.