Saturday, May 19, 2007

Proposed A&E Guidance: Department of Health response

The Department of Health has admitted that a consultation document exists proposing the adoption of guidance that A&E catchment areas should be much larger.

However, they claim that this document has been "wrongly interpreted" by the trusts in Surrey which referred to the recommended catchment areas as national guidance. They state that there is "no such official guidance" from the department.

The Department of Health spokesman admitted that the recommendations were taken from a report by the Royal College of Surgeons supported by Sir George Alberti, the former director of emergency care. He recently recommended the closure of an A&E department in north London. The remaining two A&Es serving the area will be left with catchment populations of 450,000 each.

While I am pleased to learn that the NHS trusts who were quoting this target as national government guidance appear to have misunderstood the status of the report, I make no apology whatsoever for raising the issue.

If people make a fuss now while this is only a draft recommendation in a consultation document, we have a chance of stopping the proposals before they do become official guidance.

I will post the Department of Health response in full on my Hospitals Campaign Blog so that readers can judge for themselves.


Anonymous said...

Is this the same document that proposes one A&E Unit per 450,000 people?

Chris Whiteside said...

Yes, Geoffrey, that's the one.

The Surrey NHS Trusts refer to it as "National Guidance" but the Department of Health is frantically downplaying it's significance.