A new study has found that the number of people being treated in emergency departments in England and Wales has fallen by more than one-third over the last four years, even as a number of other areas of the health service have seen an increase in patients.
The report, commissioned by the NHS England and published on Thursday, said that there were more than 11,000 emergency admissions a year in England between October 2014 and September 2020, down from a peak of nearly 17,000 in May 2021.
It also found that, as of July 2019, there were just more than 7,000 new patients being admitted to hospital each day.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “With so many more patients coming to our doors every day, our emergency department staff are being stretched to the limit and it is vital that we ensure we have the resources and equipment in place to help them survive the coming winter.”
Emergency department staff have been told to increase staffing and increase the number and level of specialist staff to help cope with rising demand, while the number to be trained to treat respiratory conditions and heart disease have also been boosted.
The figures come as the government launches a new national strategy to address the increasing number of patients coming into emergency departments.
The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, is launching the strategy on Monday, with NHS England already facing a backlog of more than 6,000 urgent care patients.
“We are also seeing more and more people coming in who have respiratory conditions, heart conditions, kidney problems, or conditions which require intensive care or intensive care unit treatment,” Mr Stevens said.
“Our response is to build the right capacity, improve the quality of care and support our staff to deliver these critical services.”
But he added that the strategy was not about turning the clock back.
“The strategy is about ensuring we can deliver a strong NHS,” he said.
“If we don’t get the right skills and training, we are not going to be able to deal with the rising demand.” “
Health Minister David Willetts said: ‘Health professionals are increasingly stressed’ The Health Department’s new national strategic plan said that the government’s plan for the next five years included a focus on the need to increase the quality and efficiency of the NHS. “
If we don’t get the right skills and training, we are not going to be able to deal with the rising demand.”
Health Minister David Willetts said: ‘Health professionals are increasingly stressed’ The Health Department’s new national strategic plan said that the government’s plan for the next five years included a focus on the need to increase the quality and efficiency of the NHS.
The strategy called for an increase of staff to respond quickly to emergency calls and provide better patient care and treatment.
It said the NHS needed to improve the capacity of its emergency departments to cope with growing demand.
It warned that the health services could face a shortage of staff if they failed to maintain an effective and professional relationship with their frontline staff.
“As our capacity is being stretched by a significant number of cases in the emergency department, it is essential that we can support our frontline staff to be the best they can be,” Mr Willetty said.
He said the government would also build in additional support to emergency staff in the long term.
He also promised to “build on the NHS’s existing staffing levels to make sure that our staff are well prepared for the demands of the future”.
In the report, the authors said that more than 50% of emergency admissions were in primary care and that the majority of those admissions were from acute care.
It found that there was an increase across England in the number people being admitted in specialist emergency departments, from 6% to 13%.
“The numbers of specialist acute care patients rose by about 9% in the same period,” it said.
But Mr Stevens also highlighted the increased demand in respiratory conditions such as COPD, where there are now more than 1,200 respiratory care beds across England.
The UK has been experiencing a record number of coronavirus deaths with the country recording nearly 4,000 deaths so far this year, more than double the 2,000 recorded in 2013.
The Government is also considering a further increase in the minimum wage and plans to boost mental health support, including a new helpline for people struggling with mental health issues.
It has already said that it will increase mental health funding by an additional £20bn over the next three years.