Health Select Committee hears evidence on Emergency Services and Emergency Care

On Tuesday 21 May 2013, the Health Select Committee, of which Valerie is a member, heard evidence on Emergency Services and Emergency Care.

Valerie said:

“I was concerned that Mike Farrar, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation suggested that people could be treated by a telephone call with their doctor. Medicine is about observation and this suggestion presumes that patients would know what to ask. It assumes a certain level of knowledge. I think that we need to be careful when making generalisations about patient requirements.I was concerned that an elderly person with multiple conditions would not be able to do this and would need to see a doctor face to face.”

“Many elderly people are taken to A&E. I suggested a possible solution that elderly people could have direct access to a specialist in a specialist unit rather than be taken to A&E Departments. Dr Patrick Cadigan, Registrar at the Royal College of Physicians,gave evidence that this is being carried out by Dr Simon Conroy in Leicester. He said ‘ a Geriatrician is based in the A&E department…a situation where you have a senior decision-maker responsible for that particularly difficult and challenging and complex group of patients, situated in a place where they can take a decision and have access to alternatives to acute admission..[this] is a model that has been shown to work.’”

“Dr Mike Clancy, President of the College of Emergency Medicine, said that part of the problem is retaining junior doctors as A&E specialists. ‘We are seeing 15 million patients with 1400 doctors…junior doctors are not choosing to do this kind of work… The fill rate into our training program is half what it was. We have lost 200 future consultants because of that failed recruitment.’”

“I also noted that Dr Clancy said that there are on average 7 consultants per department, despite a recommendation from the College of Emergency Medicine that a minimum of 10 consultants are required.”

The full recording of the Health Select Committee Session Emergency Services and Emergency Care can be found here: