Shortage of emergency department doctors needs urgent action, says watchdog

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 31 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6595
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

England’s spending watchdog has urged health bosses to deal with staffing shortages in NHS emergency departments as part of a package of measures to tackle rising numbers of admissions.

The National Audit Office also said that the Department of Health had to encourage more doctors to work in accident and emergency, remove barriers to seven day working in hospitals, and ensure greater use of geriatricians.

The recommendations were in a report, published on 31 October, which also said that too many unnecessary emergency admissions were disrupting services to patients.1

In 2012-13 England had 5.3 million emergency admissions in England, up from 3.6 million in 1997-98, a 47% rise.

In 2012-13 emergency admissions cost around £12.5bn (€14.7bn; $20bn), said …

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