A major report into emergency care in England has revealed that patients are facing unnecessary delays and confusion over access to such care.
The Healthcare Commission review revealed wide variations in how patients are treated, concluding that people are confused over where to seek help, face unnecessary delays on being admitted to hospital, and some out-of-hours care is poor.
The Commission said there were also fears over how quickly patients taken to A&E in an ambulance start receiving care.
In some A&E departments, for 95% of the time, ambulances are back on the road within 15 minutes of delivering a patient, but in other departments this figure is as low as 10%.
The review also found “significant variations” in the proportion of patients seen by a doctor or nurse within an hour of arriving at A&E and urgent care centres, ranging from 40% to 100%.
However, the Commission did note improvements in some areas, with a rise in the number of people treated at A&E within the four-hour government target, from 91.2% in 2003/04 to 97.9% in 2007/08.
Anna Walker – chief executive of the Healthcare Commission – said the Commission was calling for a network target looking at how quickly a patient receives care from the moment they call an ambulance to being admitted to A&E.
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