Acute and emergency care - prescribing the remedy

Acute and emergency care departments face profound pressures. This report outlines recommendations for delivering a sustainable and resilient emergency care system. It is intended for Government officials, national bodies, commissioners, providers, professional bodies and clinicians.

Key recommendations

  • Patients should encounter the right care in the first instance to minimise repetition of assessment, delays to care and duplication of effort.
  • Emergency departments should have an appropriate skills mix. There should always be senior decision-makers, and trainee doctors should work on rotation.
  • Community and social care should be co-located with the emergency department and should deliver a seven day week service.
  • Emergency medicine services should be available 24/7.
  • Targets for attendances and acute admissions in emergency departments are unrealistic and should change.
  • IT infrastructure should effectively integrate clinical and safeguarding information.
  • Telephone advice services can ease pressures on emergency care system.

The 13 recommendations set out in this report were informed by round-table discussions. It was co-authored by RCPCH, Royal College of Physicians, The College of Emergency Medicine and Royal College of Surgeons.