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.”