“No confidence” that a 2018-19 NHS winter crisis can be avoided

(Title Image: Wales Online)

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has issued a frank warning to the Health Committee that they’re expecting another challenging winter in Welsh accident and emergency departments (pdf).

“….many of our Members and Fellows commented that the situation feels worse than previous years, that they believe emergency care is in a state of crisis and that they do not have confidence that this winter will be any better.”

– Royal College of Emergency Medicine Wales

The winter of 2017-18 saw a marked decrease in the number of patients in A&E departments who were seen within 4 hours and a significant increase in the numbers waiting longer than 12 hours.

“If these trends continue – and currently there is no substantial evidence to suggest otherwise – it is arguable that patient safety will continue to be compromised. NHS Wales is simply not well equipped to deal with the demand and acuity of patients requiring care this winter.”

– Royal College of Emergency Medicine Wales

The College anticipates that most of the problems will be caused by delayed transfers from A&E departments to regular wards as well as discharges from ambulance crews. They say it’s a direct result of lack of beds and access to social care and called for GPs, mental health crisis teams and frailty specialists to be co-located in A&E departments.