Consultant shortage is fatal thorn in side of emergency services, say MPs

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 04 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1933
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

A serious shortage of expertise in the form of emergency consultants is hampering hospital emergency departments in England from providing an adequate service, MPs have concluded.

MPs on the influential House of Commons Public Accounts Committee have raised several concerns over the state of emergency services in England in a highly critical report published on 4 March.1

The committee said that the government currently had no clear strategy for tackling what it called a “chronic” shortage of emergency consultants. In 2012 almost a fifth of consultant posts in emergency departments were either vacant or filled by locums.

The report explains how there were 5.3 million emergency admissions to hospitals in England in 2012-13, an increase of 47% over the …

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