The Healthcare Commission has called for a concerted effort to improve urgent and emergency services, following the results of a review.
Although improvements were recorded in the report, 18% of PCTs were rated as performing ‘least well’ with regards to the delivery, access and management of emergency care.
People living in the worst performing areas were less likely to have their care needs met effectively – enjoying less GP out-of-hours services and facing longer waits for care.
While the failures of emergency services were recognised, the introduction of NHS Direct and walk-in centres was praised for bringing ‘significant improvements’.
Furthermore, statistics demonstrate that the number of people dealt with within fours hours in A&E increased from 91.2% in 2003-2004 to 97.9% in 2007-2008.
Anna Walker, the commission’s chief executive, commended the hard-work of staff but called for further improvements.
‘We are calling on the government and healthcare organisations to renew their efforts to get the whole system working together so people can get the right care they need,’ she said.