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£500m fund for emergency services will not fix longstanding problems, say doctors

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5017 (Published 08 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5017
  1. Mark Gould
  1. 1London

News that accident and emergency departments in England that experienced severe strain last winter will be able apply for a share of a £500m (€580; $775m) fund to improve services has been greeted with scepticism by doctors, who describe it as “papering over the cracks” and failing to address underlying recruitment and organisational problems.

The announcement was made on 8 August by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said that the money, which comes from NHS efficiency savings and underspends, would be available over two years to help specific accident and emergency units better prepare for winter.

Cameron said that over one million more people now visit emergency departments compared to three years ago, and last year’s harsh winter put exceptional pressure on urgent and emergency wards, which resulted in the NHS missing its four hour waiting targets between January and March.

While emergency departments are now performing well, with more than 95% of patients seen within four hours, Cameron wants the NHS to …

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