Ripping off the sticking plaster: Whole-system solutions for urgent and emergency care

06 / 03 / 2014

Mounting pressures on England’s urgent and emergency care services have been well documented in local and national media over recent months. With headlines of “A&E in crisis” and “emergency services in meltdown” never too far from a front page, the topic has stimulated significant political and public debate.

The task ahead for the NHS is to move beyond the headlines and handwringing and find practical whole-system solutions to address current pressures and avert future crises. Failure to find such solutions, and to act on them quickly, could have dire consequences for patients, and for the NHS as a whole.

This report acts as a roadmap to the fundamental changes required to create a sustainable and high-quality urgent and emergency care system that can meet the needs of patients now and in the future.

While this destination is clear, the public and politicians will need to recognise that the journey to get there may vary in each area, according to the resources, needs and priorities in different communities. As the NHS Confederation’s 2015 Challenge campaign sets out, we must ensure the health and care system has the freedom and flexibility it needs to develop solutions that will deliver the best possible outcomes for patients and the public.

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