The Health Committee launches an inquiry to examine the steps that need to be taken to ensure that A&E departments are able to cope with the pressure they will face in the coming winter. Recent history has shown that during winter although attendances decrease, admissions increase and measures of A&E performance deteriorate.
The Committee intends to examine these issues from the perspective of a hospital trust which hosts a type 1 emergency department (that is, a standard A&E department which is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year).
The priority for the Committee is to better understand how some hospitals are able to ensure good performance by maintaining patient flow whilst others struggle in this regard.
Terms of reference
The underlying question the Committee seeks to address is why the NHS finds it necessary to continue to implement specific plans to cope with winter pressure when it is well established that seasonal change will alter the nature of demand.
In addition, the Committee would like those with an interest in this topic to address three key issues:
- The measures being taken by hospital trusts to prepare for winter pressure
- How hospital trusts work with their local health and social care partners to prepare for winter pressure beforehand, and to cope with it during winter
- The national activity that is being undertaken to support hospital trusts in coping with the demand that they are likely to face
Deadline for submissions
In advance of the inquiry, the Committee invites written submissions of no more than 2,500 words to be submitted by Friday 5 August 2016.