GPs should take on 30% of A&E work, say emergency doctors

A&E doctors have called for more GPs at emergency departments to ease pressure on services, but a senior GP warned it could have the opposite effect.

A&E: report calls for more GP support
A&E: report calls for more GP support

A report by the College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) said co-located primary care services were needed to cater for 15-30% of existing work in A&E departments. The report calls for fundamental change in A&E to ease the crisis of demand on services.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said co-location had been tried repeatedly but the evidence on its effectiveness was very mixed. One of the problems, he said, was that putting GPs at A&E creates ‘yet another lane on the motorway’ with more people using emergency departments when they realise they can see a GP.

‘Rather than reducing demand it can actually increase demand,' he said. ‘Superficially it might sound like a good idea, but it has been tried and the evidence of its success has been mixed.’

Another problem, said Dr Vautrey, was that GPs working in A&E quickly adopt A&E practices. ‘The governance arrangements of the hospital preclude them from working in the ways they would do in their own general practice.’

The report, based on a survey of 131 UK A&Es between 2011 and 2012, backs system redesign to decongest A&E, expansion and sustainable working practices for staff, changes to emergency care funding and improved performance measures.

CEM president, Dr Mike Clancy, said: ‘We must get this right. The public rightly expects that the emergency department is their ultimate safety net when they are acutely ill or injured. Effective clinical care means safe high-quality care seven days a week that is consistent across the UK.’

Medical director at NHS England, Sir Bruce Keogh, is due to report his findings of a review into urgent and emergency care this spring. The report is expected to set out proposals for a reorganisation of all urgent and emergency care services.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus