Terms of Reference: emergency services and emergency care

17 April 2013

The Health Committee has issues terms of reference for its inquiry into NHS emergency services.

NHS emergency services are under growing pressure as demand rises and resource pressure grows. These trends, coupled with claims about the improved outcomes which can be achieved by specialist trauma centres, raise important questions about the future shape of community and primary care services, ambulance services and hospital A&E departments, and on the relationships between them.

As a result the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS England) is reviewing the future configuration of urgent and emergency services in England.

The committee seeks comments on the following:

  • The role of community and primary care services in the delivery of emergency healthcare, and the appropriate structure for service delivery to meet the demands of different geographic areas particularly sparsely populated rural areas
  • Progress towards moving some minor injury and urgent care services out of A&E and into more accessible community settings
  • The range, severity and incidence of conditions that can be treated within an accident and emergency unit but not managed at an urgent care centre
  • The prospects for better integration of ambulance services with primary care under the new commissioning regime established in April 2013
  • The ability of ambulance services to continue to meet increased emergency demand whilst contributing to the Nicholson challenge
  • Experience to date of the transition from NHS Direct to the NHS 111 service
  • The implications of the shift away from determining the success of ambulance services via indicators based on response time to the new measures designed to assess clinical effectiveness
  • The causes of delays in handover from ambulances services to A&E or transfer between different levels of urgent care, and actions required to eliminate them
  • Clinical evidence about outcomes achieved by specialist regional centres, taking account of associated travel times, compared with more generalist hospital based services
  • Aspects of care which are likely to improve by being located in regional specialist units and the risks associated with removing services from existing A&E provision
  • The effectiveness of the existing consultation process for incorporating the views of local communities in to A&E service design
  • The ability of local authorities to challenge local proposals for reconfiguration under the revised oversight and scrutiny powers included in the Health and Social Care Act 2012

The deadline for submitting written evidence is midday on Monday 20 May 2013.

Guidance for submitting written evidence (PDF PDF 18 KB)

Image: iStockphoto

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