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Letters Four hour emergency target

Targets still lead care in emergency departments

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 06 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3579
  1. Suzanne Mason, director1,
  2. Jon Nicholl, director of research and deputy dean2,
  3. Thomas Locker, consultant in emergency medicine3
  1. 1Health Services Research, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DA
  2. 2Medical Care Research Unit, Health Services Research, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)
  3. 3Barnsley District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Barnsley S75 2EP
  1. s.mason{at}

    The UK four hour standard for processing patients attending emergency departments was introduced at 90% in 2004 and has sat at 98% since 2005. We have shown that the effect of the target is not uniform—patients admitted to hospital from the emergency department were affected most by a “spike” in activity during the …

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