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NHS hospitals should imitate Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Metro, hospital chief says

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 27 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2416
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The NHS is “close to being overwhelmed,” the UK shadow health secretary has said. Speaking at a meeting organised by the Reform think tank for the Shelford Group of leading academic hospitals, Andy Burnham said that problems in accident and emergency (A&E) departments were a barometer of wider pressures on health and social care as a whole.

“If there is a blockage anywhere, it will be seen in A&E,” he said. He noted that cuts to general practice and community care, as well as to local authorities and social care, had placed hospitals under increasing pressure.

“Can they carry on and never drop the ball?” Burnham asked, claiming that A&E targets had been missed for 35 weeks running and that more than a million patients had waited longer in A&E than the target maximum of four hours. “I think if you look at A&E it is telling you the system is close to …

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