Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of TMG podcast.
The NHS’s own guidelines state that 95% of patients should be seen within the first 4 hours of
admission. This means they have to be either discharged, transferred to a different provider or
admitted to a specialised hospital ward.
Let’s start exploring the usual problem with NHS waiting lists.
I am your host Makeen and let’s go.
As mentioned above, the NHS’s target is that 95% of A&E visitors should be seen within 4 hours.
However, this is a very ambitious percentage to aim for. There are many reasons why this is not
possible to achieve. For example, understaffing, lack of resources and people attending to A&E
they don’t need to.
It is estimated that if the NHS was to fix this problem, 3.8-5.2 billion pounds are needed. This
not something the NHS can afford with its budget.
Types of A&E facilities
These are led by consultants. They run on a 24/7 basis. They include full resuscitation services
accommodation beds in case patients need to stay.
This is a single speciality facility led by a consultant.
This is the more common and well-known type of A&E. walk-in centres, urgent care centres and
injury units, even units for severe toothaches. These are usually led by either consultants or
nurses. They are usually found in the community.
Which type is behind?
It is usually type 1 A&E facilities that are behind their targets. They constantly fail to meet
Initially, the guidelines stated that 98% of patients needed to be seen within the first 4
2010, this was reduced to 95% to help meet targets and boost the morale of A&E doctors. However,
this target was rarely met. By the end of 2018, the percentage reached was84.4%. Even though
was higher than the previous year, it still was not high enough.
The percentages of targets met changes seasonally. For example, usually winter seasons have the
worst number of targets met where healthcare services are usually strained the most.
This will be bad in many ways if it continues in the future. Firstly, patient safety will start
being compromised. If a patient presents with a minor injury/complaint, it might develop into
something more severe and complex if it is not seen and sorted soon. Secondly, the NHS is
presented in a negative way because of these long waiting times and packed emergency
And finally, we can all see why such problems would be of higher concern during the coronavirus
pandemic circumstances where hospitals are fully packed already with COVID-19 patients.
How can this problem be solved?
The NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens , suggested a triage scheme to help A&E departments meet
their targets. Basically, those with minor alignments are forced to wait longer whilst priority
given to those with higher risk injuries. That way the chances of survival for someone with an
injury will increase, and their recovery will be maximised.
This sounds good overall. However, there are some concerns about the sort of priority that will
given to low-risk injuries. Some believe that people with minor injuries will now have to wait
longer than they used to before. This is especially true since it is proposed that the minor
unit can be used to see people with high risk injuries. And as we mentioned before, there is the
additional risk of a minor injury developing into something serious if not seen soon enough.
Another option that’s been suggested is charging people for A&E attendances. It is suggested
this will make people think twice before going into A&E. As a result, there will be much shorter
queues in A&E departments, reducing waiting times. However, people who oppose this solution
that this goes against the NHS’s principle of healthcare for all available for free at the point
Well everyone that was an overview of a common problem that faces the NHS. I hope that you have
found this episode helpful.
If you have any questions drop us a message on instagram @themedicalgeeks. Alternatively you can
visit our website themedicalgeeks.com.
Stay tuned for more episodes, until then stay safe.
I am your host Makeen and goodbye!