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RCP responds to NHS England’s review of urgent and emergency care standards

The RCP has published a joint statement with Society for Acute Medicine in response to NHS England’s review of urgent and emergency care standards.

The NHS England 'Clinical review of urgent and emergency care standards' began in 2018 as a way to improve outcomes and patient experience. The RCP and Society of Acute Medicine (SAM) are members of the clinical advisory group.

The latest stage of this review, the results of the consultation on proposed standards, was published today by NHS England.

Andrew Goddard, RCP President, and Sue Crossland, SAM President, said:

“We welcomed the opportunity to revisit how we measure urgent and emergency care performance and improve patient care. The 'basket of measures' proposed seems a good approach, and it is positive that there was broad agreement.

“We understand that some want these changes to happen quickly to bring certainty to patients and the NHS, but agree with those who said they should be introduced gradually. We need a pilot phase to make sure the proposed approach works, with a focus on working together across teams.

“Most patients admitted to hospital via emergency departments (EDs) are looked after by acute medicine doctors. Close working between acute medical units and EDs will be critical to getting these standards up and running.

“The 'Clinically ready to proceed' metric is a good example of this: it will only work if there is close collaboration and improvement through the piloting process. The teams that admit patients must be involved in decisions about the next steps before a patient is deemed 'clinically ready to proceed' as it has an impact on the management and subsequent place of care for that patient.

“Involving all the appropriate clinicians will enhance collaborative working in the NHS, and improve patient experience and clinical outcomes. We all have a role in ensuring patients are in the safest place in the hospital for a particular point in their admission, that corridor care is avoided at all costs and that hospital processes are driven by patient need, not process targets.”