Readers’ panel: Should the four-hour A&E target be scrapped?
Amid unprecedented winter pressures, health secretary Jeremy Hunt recently suggested that the four-hour waiting time guarantee should no longer apply to patients attending A&E with less serious problems. Nursing Standard readers have their say
Pete Hawkins is a staff nurse in an emergency department in Bristol
The government is in denial over the real issues causing unacceptable conditions for both patients and staff in emergency departments nationwide, namely the exit block from A&E due to ongoing cuts in social and primary care. This prevents timely discharge from hospital.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s suggestion of revising the four-hour target is just an evasion. The target can work as a valid clinical marker, but without patient flow it becomes ineffective. Exit block should be the focus, not fiddling statistics and...