News

NHS England promises to prioritise emergency care

Funding confirmed to help staff manage waiting times.
Emergency

Funding confirmed to help staff manage waiting times.

Picture: Alamy

Emergency care has been identified as one of four priorities by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens. The others are cancer care, general practice and mental health care.

Unveiling a progress report on his 2014 Five-Year Forward View, Mr Stevens promised action to improve performance and reduce stress on staff.

The report, published at the end of March, set out measures to be taken over the next few years. These include:

  • Standardised urgent treatment centres to be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, by spring 2018.
  • A 50% increase in the number of clinical assessments of 111 calls so that by March 2018 one third of patients can receive help from clinicians.
  • Front-door GP streaming in each hospital trust by October 2017.
  • Half of the population

Funding confirmed to help staff manage waiting times.

Emergency
Picture: Alamy

Emergency care has been identified as one of four priorities by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens. The others are cancer care, general practice and mental health care.

Unveiling a progress report on his 2014 Five-Year Forward View, Mr Stevens promised action to improve performance and reduce stress on staff.

The report, published at the end of March, set out measures to be taken over the next few years. These include:

  • Standardised urgent treatment centres to be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, by spring 2018.
  • A 50% increase in the number of clinical assessments of 111 calls so that by March 2018 one third of patients can receive help from clinicians. 
  • Front-door GP streaming in each hospital trust by October 2017.
  • Half of the population to have access to GPs at weekends and evenings by March 2018 with the rest of the population getting access within 12 months.
  • A five-fold increase in the number of 24-hour specialist mental health teams in emergency departments (EDs) so that nearly half of trusts have them by March 2019.

Mr Stevens said these measures would allow EDs to start hitting the four-hour operational standard regularly once again, which health secretary Jeremy Hunt had demanded after announcing extra investment in the budget.

As well as £2 billion more for social care, £100 million has been set aside to help establish the GP streaming schemes ahead of next winter. But Mr Stevens conceded there would be a ‘trade-off’ whereby patients needing non‑emergency operations would have to wait longer as the NHS prioritises other areas.

England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings admitted that more needs to be done on recruitment and retention, particularly of nurses.

But she added: ‘With a really strong workforce, we will be able to deliver.’

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