Patients are blamed unfairly for pressure on emergency departments, consumer watchdog says

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 21 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4707
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

Most patients are not choosing to turn up at hospital emergency departments but are ending up there because of a GP referral or because they can’t get an appointment elsewhere, the chief executive of Healthwatch England has said.

Katherine Rake, the keynote speaker at the Human Tissue Authority’s annual event, held in London on 15 July, said, “There is a myth circulating about naughty patients not knowing where to go and misuse of A&E [accident and emergency]. If you talk to people, they are trying to do the right thing but are often quite frustrated by the system.”

Healthwatch, which represents consumers of health and social care in …

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