Accident and Emergency Departments

Department of Health written question – answered on 5th February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that accident and emergency units in England have a sufficient complement of doctors; and if not, what they consider to be the reasons for any shortfall.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

It is not for the Government but for local National Health Service organisations to decide whether they have a sufficient complement of doctors, and they are best placed to do this based on the needs of their patients, demand for services and the best skill mix to serve their local community.

The latest monthly workforce statistics published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that as at October 2014 there were 6,098 accident and emergency (A&E) doctors in the NHS in England, an increase of 1,236 since May 2010.

In addition to the increasing numbers of doctors working in A&E units, in order to increase the pool of supply, last year Health Education England (HEE) worked with the College of Emergency Medicine to expand the emergency medicine branch of the Acute Care Common Stem programme and established a ‘run through’ pilot for speciality training. HEE developed a mechanism whereby doctors working in other clinical areas can transfer into emergency medicine with their skills recognised and progress more quickly through the early years of emergency medicine training. These actions are now having a positive impact on the system, and there is now a 98% fill rate.

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