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A&E should become healthcare hubs

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A&E needs a culture change A&E needs a culture change and a 'new paradigm'

Emergency departments should be part of hubs providing access to specially trained nurses, GPs and pharmacists states a new report by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM).

The recommendations follow a summit bringing together experts from both Colleges.

Janet Davies, the chief executive of the RCN said that the time for action is now and that 'patients deserve better'.There can be no excuse to ignore this situtation any longer'.

The report acknowledged that the pressure on A&E is now becoming a year-round concern rather than just during the winter. In order to combat this resources need to be used more effectively and A&E needs a 'new paradigm'.

There needs to be a recognition that treatment could be offereed by a specialist nurse, a co-located GP or a pharmacist rather than a emergency medicine physician.

'In this way we improve services for patients by responding appropriately to their needs whilst also improving the quality and timeliness of emergency department performance,' the report said.

The RCEM, RCN and Health Education England are conducting a census to collect information from all emergency departments in England about the full range of professionals that provide emergency care and co-located care. Results will be released in the future.

The report also recommends better training for nurses and a new culture in emergency departments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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Emergency Departments (A&E's) are a known and trusted 'NHS brand' as far as the public are concerned - they already essentially form the function of a central 'hub' albeit without specific funding. True integration with NHS111 along with 24/7 access to primary care services which includes pharmacists and community nurse specialists. Emergency nurse practitioners both in ED's and in community urgent care settings already independently manage a large percentage of the 22 million patients seen each year in the UK. The 'hub' of emergency medicine must provide the standardised governance structure for various 'spokes' of unscheduled urgent care. At present there is a lack of national consistency and quality in service access and delivery; some services do not provide a meaningful service rather they act as expensive 'signposts', however others provide exceptional standards of care which mirror ED clinical outcomes for non life threating conditions.

Mike Paynter
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