26th July 2017

NHS England 'urgently needs 2,200 more A&E consultants'

NHS England 'urgently needs 2,200 more A&E consultants'


The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) is calling for an extra 2,200 emergency medicine consultants to reach safe, sustainable staffing levels as part of new strategy to help deliver better care in emergency departments.

The extra consultants are one of a range of measures detailed in the RCEM Vision 2020. RCEM campaign also demands extra hospital beds, extra funding and extra support services for A&E staff.

Focusing on Staffing, Systems and Support, the RCEM Vision 2020 calls for:

  • Around 5,000 additional hospital beds in England alone to get bed occupancy rates back to safe levels. More beds are vital to tackle ‘exit block’ and overcrowding.
  • At least 100 additional training places per annum for at least four years
  • The co-location of vital care services, including mental health specialists, pharmacists, frailty teams, ambulatory emergency care and GPs.
  • A redirection of the £1.3m being spent each day on locum agency staff in England into an emergency care transformation programme.

The President of RCEM, Dr Taj Hassan said that last winter saw the worst performance for over 15 years. The college cannot allow the situation to continue to deteriorate every year.

He further added that with the preparation already started for the forthcoming winter, the Royal College believe that the measures within their strategy will halt further decline, and allow emergency departments to thrive in the long term.

The plan details the ten keys areas of work that must be tackled, including training and careers, the sharing of information and best practice combined with the removal of exit block.

RCEM have identified that they need at least 2,200 additional Emergency Medicine consultants in England alone to achieve safe, sustainable staffing levels, with posts structured to allow good recruitment, retention and prevent career burnout. Importantly, it will allow enough numbers of senior staff to be present at busy times over the course of a week, he added.

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