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Lack of hospital beds causes emergency departments to miss targets

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39098.461968.DB (Published 18 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:111
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    More than a third of accident and emergency departments in hospitals in England said they were not reaching the government's target of dealing with patients within four hours. The main reason for this finding, from a survey published this week, was a shortage of available hospital beds, making it difficult for patients to be admitted.

    Only 49% of the nearly 500 members of the British Association of Emergency Medicine—all consultants and middle grade doctors—responding to the survey reported that their departments met the emergency access target for 98% of all patients to be seen, treated, admitted, or discharged within four hours.

    Although only 49% considered that their department actually met the emergency access target, 67% said that the figures reported by their department indicated that …

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