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Out of Hours care must be ‘simplified’

17 June 2013

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The NHS in England should provide a simpler and more co-ordinated emergency and urgent care system, a preliminary review claims. 

The initial NHS England evidence base has been released today for NHS workers and patients to comment on. 

Their responses will help inform the full review, which will be launched later this year. 

NHS England medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, who is leading the review, says although there has been a “clear improvement” in A&E performance, the issues “will not go away”.  

The review aims to develop a national framework for a more safe, efficient system which works 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Sir Bruce said the Urgent and Emergency Care Review is an “excellent opportunity” to improve care. 

The national framework for clinical commissioning groups, which will be informed by the review, aims to deliver consistently commissioned, high quality urgent and emergency care services across the country which works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Professor Sir Bruce said: “Over the past few months, we have been building an evidence base of guidance, reports and data to inform our review – and it is clear that the way we currently deliver urgent and emergency care needs to change.

“A compelling case for change can only be built on evidence and, while not always comfortable reading, it is the only way to have a truly honest discussion. We must keep pace with medical progress and make sure everyone has the best chance of receiving the most appropriate care.” 

NHS England is now calling for views on the work so far from patients and people who work for the NHS. 

Professor Keith Willett, NHS England’s national director for acute care episodes, said: “At its heart, this review is about bringing together the expertise from across the health and care system to determine how best to organise emergency care in future.

“To relieve the pressure and design a system that is sustainable and fit to meet future challenges, we need as many patients, doctors, nurses and NHS colleagues as possible to get involved.”

In the short term, NHS England has announced plans to strengthen performance in urgent and emergency care across the country to help hospital A&E departments meet demand and tackle waiting time pressures.