NHS chief fears A&E meltdown

ACCIDENT and emergency departments are getting “closer and closer to the cliff edge”, the head of the NHS Confederation has warned.Chief executive Mike Farrar has warned that if demand continues to rise hospitals may be unable to cope.

Speaking ahead of an appearance before the Commons Health Select Committee today, Mr Farrar said: “Like many hard working frontline staff in the NHS, we have been ringing the alarm bells about urgent care services struggling to meet the demands of patients. The recent headlines do not lie – the pressures are growing and we are getting closer and closer to the cliff edge.

“In the last 10 years, emergency admissions through A&E have increased by 51 per cent – that’s an extra 1.25 million more patients going in to hospital on an unplanned basis.

“If we continue with this trend we will see another extra half a million patients cramming into our A&E department in the next three years. This will be simply impossible for our hospital services to cope with, despite the heroic efforts of staff to date.”