Responding to a Nuffield Trust publication on the A&E crisis, which warns that the emphasis on the four-hour waiting time target has become disproportionate, Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair said:
| We can only get to grips with pressure on A&Es if we look at health and social care in the round, and ensure every part of the system is fully resourced and working well|
| Dr Mark Porter|
“Doctors want to treat patients on the basis of their individual need, rather than an arbitrary target. Moving away from a system that prioritises targets above all else to one which takes a wider view of how services are performing would improve the quality of patient care by preventing rushed admissions, or leaving those most in need waiting longer for treatment.
“By fixating on one narrow measurement, we risk focusing on the symptoms rather than the causes of rising pressure on A&Es, which are linked to wider pressures across the NHS and social care sector.
“Cuts to social care mean hospitals have become a holding place for many older patients who can’t be discharged because there is simply nowhere for them to go. This ‘exit block’ leads to bed shortages and patients waiting for hours on trolleys to be admitted. Outside of hospitals investment in general practice is declining while demand is on the rise and more care is moved into the community - this simply isn’t sustainable.
“We can only get to grips with pressure on A&Es if we look at health and social care in the round, and ensure every part of the system is fully resourced and working well.”