Emergency access to healthcare is in crisis. Unmet need in primary and community care and low capacity in hospitals and social care has left the emergency health services gridlocked and overwhelmed, unable to provide safe care.
This Cross party House of Lords Public Services Committee report recommends that a COBR Committee be assigned the responsibility to address the crisis in emergency healthcare. In the long-term, it recommends a a substantial overhaul is needed, one which sets out a bold new operating model for the system as a whole, and which is backed by equally bold leadership.
The report's action plan for emergency health services:
- An emergency response: Recognising this is a national emergency, the Government should refer the crisis in emergency health services to a COBR Committee.
- Deliver care at the right place, right time: In the short term, boost the number of clinicians in 999 and 111 services so that patients are being directed to the right services at the right time.
- Unlock the gridlock: Incentivise faster safe discharges from hospitals and increase capacity in hospitals and social care to make sure people can move through the health system and do not end up stuck in ambulances or at A&E.
- Understand the problem: Data on A&E waiting times do not accurately reflect the patient experience. Performance data should accurately report the true waiting times experienced by patients so that decision makers have a clear picture of the problem, and so the public can hold them to account.
- Address unmet need: Boost capacity in hospitals and social care. Make it easier for patients to get care in the community both before they reach crisis point (preventing admissions) and following discharge.
- A new model for emergency health services: The Government must develop a new model for emergency health services which recognises the current crisis, the type of demand services face and clinical best practice and, for accountability purposes, sets out appropriate performance measures.
Emergency healthcare: a national emergency (Cross party House of Lords Public Services Committee, 19 January 2023) https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/33569/documents/182983/default/
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