Intended for healthcare professionals


Rescue boards are set up in England to deal with “significant deterioration” in A&E departments

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 10 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3065
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

NHS England has announced steps to tackle rising pressure on hospitals’ accident and emergency departments that has sparked anxiety among regulators and ministers.

It has set up a national support plan with Monitor, the economic regulator of the NHS, and the NHS Trust Development Authority, which provides support and leadership to NHS trusts. The plan requires local urgent care boards to be formed to ensure that “recovery and improvement plans” are in place for each hospital accident and emergency department by 31 May.

The boards, led by NHS England area teams, will work with clinical commissioning groups, hospitals, and local authorities to meet demand, fix problems, and improve performance against national targets. They will also examine the quality of ambulance services, the NHS 111 urgent helpline service, and out of hours services and the effectiveness of primary and community care services.

NHS England said on 9 May that the performance of hospital emergency departments had “deteriorated …

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