17 May 2024

RCP responds to NHS Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Plan


Commenting on the letter, Dr John Dean, clinical vice president of the Royal College of Physicians, said:

“For the first time we have a comprehensive system-wide plan and guidance to improve urgent and emergency care for patients. This includes many of the interventions we have been calling for and will in time help clinicians to deliver the care patients need. Far too many people are left waiting inordinate lengths of time from arriving in hospital to receiving the care they need, by the right team in the right place, many being cared for in corridors.  It is promising to see that hospitals will be given funding incentives to focus on interventions so that patients don’t wait longer than 12 hours. Whilst this is still unacceptably long, it is the most critical improvement we currently need.  

“To deliver that improvement, hospitals and communities must work together to reduce delays in hospital for people who can complete their treatment and recovery at home, or in another setting. So, we are encouraged to see the emphasis in the plan of clinical teams working with social care and communities to deliver this. The use of discharge ready data will help. Maintaining hospital bed capacity is essential, and further expansion is likely to be required in addition to these measures. Continuing workforce constraints in health and care will be the limiting factor. 
“The emphasis on delivering the right care at the right time in the first 72 hours can improve care now, while the other interventions will take time. Physicians and their teams can work together for a multi-speciality approach to this challenge.  

“We will work with NHS leaders, specialities and front-line teams to help deliver this for patients. We will also be clear if the plan isn’t working, and why. Delivering this is a huge challenge when clinical teams are working beyond what should be expected to try and keep patients safe. They will continue to be driven by their professionalism and commitment to their patients.”