Magazine article Public Finance

Bed Cuts 'Threatening A&E Targets'

Magazine article Public Finance

Bed Cuts 'Threatening A&E Targets'

Article excerpt

Hospitals' attempts to recover financial balance are leading to longer waits at accident and emergency departments, the British Medical Association said this week.

A&E departments were struggling to hit the government's access target - that 98% of patients wait no longer than four hours from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge, the BMA said. The main reason for this, according to a survey of emergency doctors, was lack of beds due to cost-cutting measures.

Don MacKechnie, chair of the BMAs emergency medicine committee, said: 'Many hospitals have cut bed numbers as part of their financial recovery plans and attempts to balance their books. This means that there are fewer available beds for patients coming through A&E.

'Working towards the four-hour target on A&E waiting times has been a fantastic achievement. However, respondents tell us that despite this success, the level of performance in many departments is proving unsustainable and these departments are finding it difficult to cope on a daily basis'

Almost nine out often (87%) said bed shortages were the main reason for not meeting the target. …

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