Published: Mon 13th February 2017
Read Time: 2 minutes
The NHS Is Failing Its A&E Target
NHS (National Health Service) is the public health service for the United Kingdom, that serves people nationwide, and has a number of government targets to meet. One of them, is achieving a maximum four-hour A&E (Accident & Emergency) waiting time – which has unfortunately not been met since the summer of 2015.
What is A&E?
The Accident and Emergency department, or casualty department, is a medical treatment facility specialising in emergency medicine. The government stated that 95% of people visiting the A&E department should be seen, and treated, within four hours. This guideline was introduced at the end of 2004. On a quarterly timeframe, the statistics of A&E waiting times are checked. In 2016, the largest amount of money (approximately £140bn) was spent on health services across the UK. But despite this, people still wait in big queues and do not receive a quality service.
Missing The Target
One reasonable explanation might be the increasing level of demand, from people that do not need emergency assistance, but still visit regardless. For instance, many people living in rural areas are going into A&E, rather than going to the doctors – because it is becoming difficult to book an appointment with the GP. This cobined with decreasing nurse wages, has resulted in a shortage of available workforce. As a result, the demand for service and supply are not in equilibrium – there is insufficient labour. Some people emphasise that it is the government’s mistake of poor workforce planning, together with NHS inattention to small hospitals – which are situated far from city centres.
Nevertheless, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that a “big transformation programme” is coming. Moreover, an extra £4bn will be provided this year, to potentially solve the problem. Now it is simply a waiting game, to see if the hopeful promises will be implemented.