500m fund is short changing busy Accident and Emergency Services

August 9, 2013
Hannah Travis - Solicitor in the Medical Negligence Team

Posted by: Hannah Travis


The Government’s recent announcement that they intend to inject £500m into Accident and Emergency services to help struggling departments shows just how out of touch they are with the severity and depth of the issues affecting A&E wards today.

Last winter, due to a cut back in community services, more elderly and disabled patients needed to rely on A&E for treatment. This was exacerbated to some extent by a cold and long winter, with conditions remaining very poor into late February this year. Some figures quoted showed an increase of approximately 1 million users over the last few years. Usually, community nursing and other community based care can be used in these circumstances to help treat and advise patients in their home. The unfortunately reality is that this type of care is relatively invisible in the sense that it is only utilitised by a restricted demographic and so when it is cut, the impact overall appears lower, when the direct impact on the patients is greater.

This represents the type of short sighted attitude to healthcare that unfortunately seems endemic in the current Government. If you cut services, the patients and their needs aren’t cut too, they have to go elsewhere. This results in huge numbers of patients using A&E as it is the only directly and immediately accessible source of healthcare. The British Medical Association recently echoed this point of view, stating that A&E wards are “facing ever-increasing demands with diminishing resources”. £500m is simply not enough to employ the levels of staff needed to cope with the demand faced, especially during the winter, and that is the real problem. If you don’t have the staff to deliver the care, the care can’t be delivered.

One focus is to try to encourage more paramedic treatment at site, rather than transferring to A&E. However, with the news this week that East of England Ambulance Service Trust was only paying agency paramedics £35 per day for food and living expenses, resulting in paramedics having to camp in tents, there is clearly no serious and considered attempt to improve emergency healthcare.

If you have concerns about treatment that you have received in England or Wales, I would be happy to advise you on making a claim for compensation for medical negligence. Please contact me on 0207 288 4820 or HannahTravis@boltburdonkemp.co.uk to discuss the matter with no obligation and free of charge.

Posted by: Hannah Travis

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