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Internal memo warns of ‘increasingly common’ deaths in A&E

Senior doctors have raised concerns about the numbers of patients now dying in their A&E department due to extreme operational pressures.

HSJ has seen an internal memo sent to staff at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, which warns it is becoming “increasingly common” for patients to die in the accident and emergency department.

The memo suggests the department has reported five deaths in the latest weekly audit, when it would normally report one or two fatalities.

The memo said: “Of the 72 patients in A&E as I write this, 16 have been there over 24 hours and 34 over 12 hours. The longest stay is almost 48 hours…

“It’s becoming increasingly common to die in A&E. We have included A&E deaths [in weekly audits] for the last 4 years. They used to be 1 or 2. This week there were 5. They used to die at or just after arrival, but that’s changing too…

“There is every reason to think winter will be worse.”

The memo echoes warnings made by numerous NHS leaders in recent months around the intense service pressures and an increased risk of incidents and mistakes. 

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 17 August 2022


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