It has recently emerged that officials are very concerned about the level which A&E services have deteriorated in the past few years. Statistics have found that over the past year the number of organisations failing to meet patient waiting time targets has doubled. The time a patient waits in A&E to be seen or treated by a doctor should be four hours. However, in the last quarter of 2012/13, 60% of hospitals failed to meet waiting time targets. Long patient waiting times in A&E departments can result in a poor patient experience, compromise patient safety and reduce clinical effectiveness.
Some commentators have suggested that problems in A&E departments have been exacerbated due to the introduction of the 111 NHS number and the pressure on social care budgets. Moreover, Mr David Prior, chairman of the Quality Care Commission, has said that too many people are arriving at A&E when they don’t need emergency attention and their problem or illness could have been dealt with by another service within the community. However, many patients are unable to access out-of-hours GP care in their area and so they then have to resort to using A&E. Overall, pressure on A&E services is certainly mounting, with a million more people using the services every year.
Urgent changes to the way in which A&E services are run must now take place or it has been predicted that the system could collapse. Funding and staffing have been highlighted as key issues needing examination. The government has also said that the NHS and A&E departments need to join up forces with the health and social care system.
If you have suffered substandard treatment at the hands of medical professionals, perhaps in an A&E department, then you may be entitled to claim medical negligence compensation. Solicitors at Bolt Burdon Kemp have particular experience successfully making compensation claims for injuries caused as a result of substandard treatment provided in A&E departments. Negligent mistakes made in A&E departments include failing to carry out investigations, such as blood tests, taking too long to provide treatment and making a mistake during surgery. When preventable mistakes and errors are made, it is only right that injured parties claim compensation.