The demand on clinical services is increasing to the point where acute care cannot keep pace in its current form, says the RCP in a new report Hospitals on the edge? The time for action.
The report highlights that there are a third fewer general and acute beds now than there were 25 years ago, but the last decade alone has seen a 37% increase in emergency admissions. This is coupled with an increase in elderly patients – nearly two thirds (65%) of people admitted to hospital are over 65 years.
“One doctor told me that his trust does not function well at night or at the weekend and he is ‘relieved’ that nothing catastrophic has happened when he arrives at work on Monday morning. This is no way to run a health service,” says Sir Richard Thompson, president of the RCP.
“This is no way to run a health service. Excellent care must be available to patients at all times of the day and night. We call on government, the medical profession and the wider NHS to work together to address these problems.”
The RCP has called for:
- All health professionals to promote patient-centred care and to treat all patients with dignity at all times.
- The redesign of services to better meet patients’ needs. This may involve consolidation of hospital services and hospital closure.
- The planning and implementation of new services must be clinically led.
- The reorganisation of hospital care so that patients can access expert services seven days a week.
- Access to primary care to be improved so patients can see their GP out of hours, relieving pressure on A&E services.