Intended for healthcare professionals


Patients admitted as emergencies should see consultant in 12 hours, NCEPOD recommends

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 11 October 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:738

12 hours is much too long

The recommendation of this NCEPOD report that 'the initial assessment
of patients admitted as an emergency should include a doctor of sufficient
experience and authority to implement a management plan' should be seen as
an opportunity to belatedly put in place a system wherein that doctor is
the Specialist (as recommended by the Tooke enquiry). Also, the
assessment should take place in a properly resourced assessment/admission
unit joined to A&E at the hip. Not only is time of the essence but, for
many patients who undergo a comprehensive assessment by the Specialist,
actual admission to an inpatient bed may be thereby avoided.

Patients actually admitted as an emergency should, of course, be seen
by a Consultant at the earliest opportunity and always within 12 hours.

We would all wish no less than this for our family members should
they need to become patients.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 October 2007
Alfred P J Lake
Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Management
Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl. LL17 0SU