Winter pressure in A&E: response to Health Select Committee

The government’s response to the House of Commons Health Select Committee report on winter pressure in accident and emergency departments.

This report responds to each of the 27 conclusions and recommendations in the Health Select Committee’s report, Winter Pressure in A&E Departments . It highlights how the NHS prepares for winter, as part of its year-round operational resilience planning, to ensure the health and social care system in England is fully prepared for the increased pressures at that time of year.

Full document: Government Response to Health Select Committee Report on Winter Pressure in Accident and Emergency Departments


NHS needs more advanced paramedics to ease A&E pressure

Paramedics with advanced training can reduce the number of patients admitted to hospital unnecessarily, says NICE.


Image source: Carl Spencer – Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

NICE is recommending the NHS provides more advanced paramedic practitioners (APPs) to relieve pressure on emergency departments, in new draft guidance. Evidence reviewed by NICE shows that using APPs can reduce hospital admissions by 13% compared with standard paramedics.

The draft guidance also makes wider recommendations about emergency and acute medical services to standardise care across the NHS. It supports NHS England’s Five Year Forward View for the future of emergency medical services.

Full story available here

Half of A&Es to have specialist mental health teams by 2019

NHS England reveals plans to implement 24-hour specialist mental health teams in almost half of A&Es across the country by March 2019 | National Health Executive

News to implement 24-hour specialist mental health teams in almost half of A&Es across the country by March 2019 was announced in NHS England’s update to the Five Year Forward View, which outlined a number of new aims and initiatives to tackle chronic problems within mental health care nationally.


NHS England will look to improve the number of ‘talking’ therapies offered by the NHS, as 60,000 more people will receive these services by the end of 2017-18, rising to 200,000 more people getting care by the end of 2018-19.

New frameworks to facilitate faster access to digital therapies are also to be developed by NHS England alongside NICE.

Read more at National Health Executive

A&E under pressure

The number of patients waiting four or more hours at A&E has risen more than 300% at some hospitals |  BBC News


In total, 2.2 million patients were not seen within the target time in 2015-16 – more than double the one million figure in 2013-2014.

The Royal College for Emergency Medicine (RCEM) says there is a “large and systemic problem” caused by a lack of hospital beds.

NHS England said hospitals were under pressure but continuing to cope. Across England in 2015-2016, 85% of patients were seen within four hours.

Full story via BBC News

Health Secretary calls for hospitals to hit A&E waiting target within a year

Speaking at the Reform health conference, Health secretary calls for NHS hospitals to get back to meeting 95% four hour waiting target next year | NHS Providers


Speaking at the Reform health conference today (9 March 2017) health secretary Jeremy Hunt called for NHS hospitals to get back to meeting the four hour A&E target.

The four hour waiting target for A&E has not been met since July 2015. The health secretary has told NHS trusts that target should be hit next year after new funding was announced in the spring Budget.

Responding to the health secretary’s comments on the four hour A & E target, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson said:

“Despite the best efforts of NHS trusts, performance against the 95% A&E target has declined rapidly over the last few years and that decline has been speeding up, due to the record levels of extra demand.  NHS trusts will do all they can to meet the 95% standard but will need very significant extra investment in 2017/18 if they are to do so. We can’t, at this point, see where that money will come from.”

Read more at NHS Providers


Sicker patients the main reason for A&E winter pressures

Sicker patients with more complex conditions are the main reason for worsening performance in A&E departments, according to The King’s Fund’s latest quarterly monitoring report.


Eighty per cent of NHS finance directors who responded to the latest Kings Fund survey identified higher numbers of patients with severe illnesses and complex health needs as a key reason for the pressures on A&E units, while 70 per cent cited delays in discharging patients from hospital. In contrast, only 27 per cent pointed to poor access to GPs and 20 per cent identified shortages of clinical staff as key factors.

The survey also highlights the effort made by the NHS to prepare for increased pressure on services during the winter. More than 70 per cent of the trusts surveyed increased their staff, while 80 per cent of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) paid for extra resources in primary care. Other common measures included postponing planned treatment, paying private companies to take on NHS work, and paying higher rates to recruit more agency staff.

Read the full report here