BGS responds to RCEM report about emergency care

21 November 2023

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) have today published a new report providing case studies and analysis of last year’s crisis in emergency care. The BGS was among the organisations who contributed to the report.

The report, Right Place, Right Care: Learning the Lessons from the UK Crisis in Urgent and Emergency Care in 2022, reveals that patients are being disadvantaged by an urgent and emergency care system that does not have adequate capacity at every stage. The result is too many patients are in the wrong place for their needs and this creates inefficiency, waste, poor patient experience and avoidable harm.
Older people attending emergency departments (EDs) face a longer wait than other age groups – in 2022, the mean length of stay in an ED for a person aged over 80 was 15 hours. With winter fast approaching, it is vital that lessons are learned and measures swiftly taken to avoid a repeat of the winter of 2022.
As the report points out, winter pressures are predictable, and we should be planning for them. It is for this reason that we at the BGS published our own winter statement earlier this month, highlighting our concerns about older people’s healthcare and setting out seven steps that can be taken in the short term to address the system-wide challenges. The issues facing emergency care are serious, but they are not insurmountable. Through services such as Front Door Frailty we can ensure that older people presenting to ED receive the right care from the right healthcare professionals as quickly as possible, ideally returning home the same day and only being admitted to hospital where absolutely necessary.
Professor Adam Gordon, President of the British Geriatrics Society, said:

We welcome this new report from RCEM and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to feed into it. The report is a stark reminder of the challenges facing the NHS and the impact that pressures on the system have on all patients, especially older people. We must take action now to ensure that older people presenting to emergency care services this winter have better experiences than last year."