Bexley health group calls for more treatment options to ease A&E pressure
PUBLISHED: 10:19 17 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:22 17 March 2014
The pressure on A&E departments will continue until there are more options for people needing treatment, according to a health group.
Healthwatch Bexley is urging trusts to boost GP hours, community treatment centres and social care to stop people being forced into emergency departments as a last resort.
Chairman Terry Bamford said: “I’m not absolving us of our responsibility not to clog A&E whenever we get the sniffles, but until the health and care sector offers a more consumer-friendly experience, things are unlikely to improve.”
His warning comes as a national survey by Healthwatch England, the consumer group for healthcare, found that 18 per cent of people admitted using A&E for non-emergencies.
Healthwatch Bexley said the A&Es at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Lewisham Hospital and Darent Valley Hospital fitted the national picture.
A spokesman said: “Ultimately the problem seems to be the lack of services provided elsewhere.
“GPs simply aren’t flexible enough to meet people’s needs, at the same time the walk-in centre in Bexley along with others throughout the country are being closed and social care is under significant pressure.
“In order to stop people using A&E as a ‘catch-all’ service the health and care system will have to become more consumer focused and develop new products and services to entice us elsewhere within the system.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bexley Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.