Health Committee conduct hearing on Urgent and Emergency Care

On Tuesday 21 January 2014 the Health Select Committee, of which Valerie is a member, heard evidence on Urgent and Emergency from Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical Director, Professor Keith Willett, National Director for Acute Episodes of Care, and Emma O’Donnell, Deputy Director for Acute Episodes of Care, NHS England.

Valerie said:

“Delayed discharge from hospitals is a concern for patients and hospitals. When I asked whether the problem with delayed discharge from hospitals was related to a lack of social care and cuts in social care budgets, Professor Keogh said that they are trying to establish whether those people are there because of social care or inadequacies of social care or other reasons. In my view this is not acceptable. The committee expressed surprise that work is not already underway into the reasons for delayed discharges. It is crucial that NHS England addresses this issue urgently.”

“I asked Professor Keogh for clarity over whether the additional £250 million announced in September to ease winter pressures was for hospitals and the £150 million announced in November for CCGs. He said that both tranches have gone into communities. He said that £15 million is going to NHS 111, and the rest is all going to the urgent care working groups, which will decide among themselves how the money is divided. It is not clear how this money will be spent and he failed to provide any assurance that the money will not be spent on medical locums, who are temporary medical staff paid up to £2,000 a shift, rather than long term sustainable solutions.”

“I also asked about the Urgent and Emergency Care Review which referred to emergency centres and major emergency centres. I asked whether it has already been decided that there will be such centres. Professor Keogh said that they are still listening. However Professor Willett indicated that CCGs and commissioners are already working towards emergency and major emergency centres organising the networks. I was concerned to hear that the reconfigurations would not stop while this review was going on.”