Sunday, November 26, 2006

Chapter 8 - The Future of the NHS

This is a summary of Chapter 8 by Mr Jim Wardrope, President of the College of Emergency Medicine and a consultant at the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield and Dr Alastair McGowan, Immediate Past President of the Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine and consultant at St James's University Hospital, Yorkshire.

This chapter deals with Emergency Medicine - the sharp end of NHS care. In England, a staggering 13 million patients will visit an Emergency Department this year, equivalent to almost one quarter of the total population. They highlight that major changes in the delivery of primary care has had a knock-on effect, to increase the number of patients attending the Emergency Department.

Over the past 4 years the NHS has seen real growth in resources and successes in reducing Emergency Department waiting times. But they warn that the outlook for the next 5 years is less certain. Already there is evidence that demands are outstripping capacity and resources. The current level of success in emergency care is fragile and hospitals are operating at or near maximum capacity. They discuss that there will have to be greater availability of experienced doctors, and that other professional staff will have to expand their training and expertise to asses and treat patients who would have traditionally been seen by doctors.

To discuss this chapter further, please feel free to post a comment or go to the discussion forum at

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