A&E is once again in the headlines for failing to meet the targets set down and implemented by successive Labour and Conservative governments, including at local hospitals the RUH and BRI.
The Kings Fund (an independent charity working to improve health and care in England) has said that there has been a substantial rise in the numbers of individuals attending A&E over time. Although this may not be the main factor affecting performance, it can only be an additional burden for A&E staff when trying to meet Government targets.
Changes to GP’s contracts in 2004, where GPs were able to opt our of their responsibility to deliver out of hours care, has seen A&E under siege from those seeking out-of-hours care. Although a wide range of alternative care services are available, patients remain confused as to who to call and where to go when seeking out-of-hours care and attendance at A&E departments remains high as patients try and get their urgent health needs met.
In addition, emergency admissions themselves are putting A&E departments and staff under the greatest pressure. There is an increase in patients with complex care needs being admitted to A&E and with the lack of available beds this and rising numbers leads to mounting costs, pressure on limited resources and failed targets.
Following one of the worst winters (2018) A&E have remained under pressure and NHS England admit that hospitals are facing unprecedented demand. Is it any wonder that A&E are failing to meet unrealistic Governmental targets?
Nick Coates, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset, says:
"Over last three years the government have taken the eye of the ball as the pressures facing the NHS have grown.
"The LibDems would put 1p on the rate of income tax and prioritise the spending on social care, primary care, mental health and public health. This represents the most efficient and effective way of spending these extra resources – ensuring they will have the greatest impact on the quality of care patients receive.
"This puts money into activities likely to reduce the number of admission to A&E".