A nursing union representative has warned hospitals’ A&E departments could “crumble” if further cuts are made.
Steve Holmes, the UNISON branch secretary who represents staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital (BVH), says health workers are coping well at present in contrast to other hospitals in England, but warned further “efficiency savings” could cause a crisis in A&E.
A report by the College of Emergency Medicine has raised concerns over the “rising demands” being placed on A and E department across the land.
But Mr Holmes believes in spite of the national trend, BVH is coping well with demand being placed on its A &E department because it is used to treating drunken revellers on a regular basis.
He said: “As far as we’re concerned it’s not something we would blame the Trust for but so-called efficiency savings are the reason why A& E departments are under so much pressure and Trusts nationally are going to crumble under the pressure eventually.
“We’re such a busy holiday centre with stag and hen dos, and we do cope really well.
“The bubble hasn’t burst in Trusts yet but it’s going to eventually.”
Speaking after the College of Emergency Medicine’s report was published Professor Keith Willett, who is NHS England’s national director for acute episodes of care and a trauma surgeon, said: “When pressure builds across the health and social care system, the symptoms are usually found in the A&E Department.
“I’ve lived that environment for 30 years and I know just how tough it can be. What we all want is great service for patients that meets and often exceeds the minimum standards. To get there, we need the whole NHS system, in the community and hospitals, to recognise the problems and help to relieve the pressure on their colleagues in A&E.
“In the longer term we need to combine all the expertise in the NHS to determine how best to organise emergency care in future so that people get appropriate, effective and rapid care whenever and wherever it is needed.”
Blackpool Victoria Hospital said it did not wish to respond to Mr Holmes’ comments.
But its director of operations, Pat Oliver, previously told The Gazette: “We recognised three or four years back that a number of patients coming to A & E didn’t require it, so we haven’t seen as much of a negative reaction with this because we’ve got two years of experience using them.”