The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has issued a stark warning about pressures on A&E services, saying high demand and major incidents have become commonplace throughout the year.
Across England, the hospital sector is feeling the strain of financial pressures and increased demand, with the effects most visible in A&E units. They added that there are examples of beds being placed in corridors and patients being treated in ambulances while they queue up to enter hospitals and these conditions have a negative effect on staff as well as patients.
Janet Youd, Chair of the RCN Emergency Care Association, said more and more staff were leaving their roles in A&E, often after a matter of months. “The attrition rate of nurses is at a level it has never been before,” she said.
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Janet Davies added: “Having once been the preserve of the worst weeks of winter, overwhelming pressure and major incidents have sadly become the new normal. Despite the best efforts and dedication of the staff, these pressures are affecting patients at every stage in their treatment. It is time we had a serious look at how long hospitals can continue to function when they are consistently under-funded and under-staffed.”