Policy briefing

Organising emergency and acute care

In July, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence issued draft guidance on the service delivery and organisation of emergency and acute medical care.

More than 20 million patients access NHS emergency and urgent services each year. In July, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued draft guidance on the service delivery and organisation of emergency and acute medical care. Consultation closed in mid-August, with a final publication date set for December.

The guidance supports the next steps in the NHS Five Year Forward View, published in October 2014, and includes 23 recommendations for practice, alongside 17 more on research. Its broad remit covers: first points of contact with emergency and acute services; alternatives to hospital care; opening hours and locations of acute services; ward rounds, transfers and discharges; and monitoring and managing hospital bed capacity.

Recognising that hospitals find it increasingly challenging to maintain the flow of patients from admission to discharge, the guideline

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