Action needed now to address risks in emergency communication switchover

The Public Accounts Committee report warns that the target date to replace the radio system used by emergency services is unlikely to be met | Commons Select Committee

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In a their report, the Committee concludes the Emergency Services Network (ESN), which will replace the current Airwave system, “may require more testing and assurance work than the current December 2019 delivery date seems to allow for”.

However, the Committee warns the Home Office has not budgeted for an extended transition period nor put in place detailed contingency arrangements to manage this risk.

ESN, a system not yet in use nationwide anywhere in the world, will be used by the 105 police, fire and ambulance services in Great Britain.

The Government expects it to save money by sharing EE’s existing commercial 4G network.

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Community characteristics associated with where urgent care centers are located: a cross-sectional analysis

Sidney T Le, Renee Y Hsia. BMJ Open 2016;6:e010663.

Objectives: To determine the community characteristics associated with non-hospital-based urgent care centres wherever they are located.

Design: National cross-sectional study evaluating the association between non-hospital-based urgent care centers, and their demographic characteristics in a community, using descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regressions.

Setting: Communities in the USA with non-hospital-based urgent care centers, as identified using a 2014 national database from the Urgent Care Association of America.

Participants: 31 022 communities encompassing 6898 urgent care centers across the USA.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Presence of a non-hospital-based urgent care center within a community.

Results: Communities with non-hospital-based urgent care centers are urban (75.7% with vs 22.2% without; p<0.001 across rural urban commuting area levels), and are located in areas with higher income levels (38.6% in highest quartile with vs 22.3% without; p<0.001 across quartiles) and higher levels of private insurance (29.6% in highest quartile with vs 23.9% without; p<0.001 across quartiles).

Conclusions: While the growth of the urgent care industry may have other promising implications, policymakers should recognise that it may exacerbate disparities in access to acute care faced by poorer, uninsured patients, and may also have financial implications for providers that are providing overlapping services, such as emergency departments and primary care practices.

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