RCN congress

RCN members call on leadership to ramp up the pressure on politicians over A&Es

RCN members have called on the college's ruling council to put pressure on the UK governments to address the crisis in emergency departments.

Kathy Moore John Houlihan

The resolution, proposed by East Dorset branch member Kathy Moore, states there is something ‘seriously wrong’ with the UK’s A&E service, with inappropriate solutions being found to cope with pressures, including an ambulance service installing a treatment tent in hospital grounds. The resolution was passed with 99.49% of votes cast.

Ms Moore said there are relentless pressures on emergency departments, adding: ‘We have a crisis in A&E and the care of our patients is being compromised.’

She said the crisis is made worse by the growing staff shortages, particularly the cuts to district nurses' posts. ‘Hospitals are reaching tipping point,’ Ms Moore said.

Sarah Neill John Houlihan

Sarah Neill of the RCN children and young people acute care forum said a ‘sticking plaster’ would not address the A&E pressures.

‘We need to think about why people use A&E services. Children make up a significant number of A&E patients and we need to find out why it is they are taken to A&E. So we need to look at how we can ensure they get access to the right people with the right skills in primary care.’

Lucy Frost John Houlihan

Brighton and Hove branch member, Lucy Frost, said A&E can often be a 'terrifying experience’ for older people.

‘Older people need to know that A&E is a place they can trust’ she said. ‘But the system is broken and needs fixing.’

Carey Johnson of South East London RCN branch said the links between primary and acute care are not robust enough and need to be strengthened to improve the discharge process.