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RCN plays down 'target-driven' A&E care


Figures showing that admissions from A&E peak in the 10 minutes before the four-hour deadline expires do not necessarily mean targets are influencing patient care, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

The NHS Information Centre’s figures have shown that three quarters of patients in A&E are seen and treated, or admitted, within three hours while 6% of all patients across the country are dealt with in the final 10 minutes before the Government target.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “There can often be good clinical reasons for admitting people shortly before four hours, for example if staff are conducting observations or waiting for lab tests.

“However, if pressure is being placed on staff to admit patients in order not to breach a target, then patient care is not being put first and this is unacceptable. The RCN is currently working to assess the extent to which pressure is being put on staff, and are determined to ensure that patient care comes first.”

The number of patients dealt with in the final 10 minutes before a deadline varies from around zero to 15% in different parts of the country.


Readers' comments (2)

  • I am often put under pressure to accept patients to my ward before i feel ready. Patient care is the slogan of the moment, well it is time to consider the knock on effect that the 4 hour wait limit in casualty has to our patients on the ward.

    Patient care is definetly being compromised, their care is rushed, discharges and transfers are hastily arranged in order to free a bed so that A & E doesn't BREACH....all to make the statitics look good..... !

    I have had to move patients during the night to avoid a breach situation..... where is the patient care here?

    It is even known to have more patients on a ward than there are allocted spaces for......patient care...???

    My view is that there should be a 'breach' let the statistics show the true picture of how busy we are. Too much is glossed over, we are expected to put up and shut up ...

    Managers are pressured from targets, and this trickles right down through the hospital to the patients, who have very little time spent on what is supposed to be

    I wish those who make these rules/regulations could come and see the real situation....come incognito not as a planned meeting where all is artificially stage managed.

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  • And it's took them how many years to audit this. Another tick box exercise as if the public is stupid!, wait for 3.50mins moved along. The only solution I can come up with if an inbetween ward. A ward preparing the patient of events to come. What will happen, who will care for them etc. All hospital's require Pre Admission Wards from accident and emergency, not a new concept I know but it is all about the money!, there doesn't seem to be any.

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