There were further reports this weekend that the number of hospitals failing to meet A&E four-hour waiting time targets increased significantly in the last period monitored. Issues surrounding A&E care and the inability of hospitals to cope with the number of patients they receive is becoming of increasing concern.
The Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) has also taken strong action against two Stafford Hospital nurses who falsified A&E discharge times by striking them off the nursing register. The (NMC) panel found that they had brought their profession into serious disrepute by false recording between 2000 and 2010 to avoid breaches of the four-hour waiting targets.
Philippa Luscombe, partner in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons, said: “A&E care is a real problem at the moment as departments are simply under-resourced and people are waiting too long to be seen. We have a number of cases which have resulted in serious disability and death due to A&E delays. But the constant focus on targets and numbers is not a solution particularly if it encourages problems of falsifying records.
“A more constructive approach to solving the A&E problem would be to try to ensure that only patients who need A&E care end up in A&E and that the right resources are available day and night.”