‘Target-associated’ Approach To A&E Queues Means Doctors Abandon New Patients For Less Serious Ones


‘Targeted’ approach to emergency room wait times means doctors abandon arrivals to see less severe patients who’ve waited nearly four hours, experts warn

  • EDs seeing up to one in four patients within 10 minutes of the four hour target
  • In a quarter of cases at top trusts, a patient was seen in the last ten minutes
  • Experts say a ‘target-associated’ approach could mean doctors abandon arrivals

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Some EDs see up to one in four patients within 10 minutes of the four hour target in what is likely an attempt to improve their performance rankings.

Analysis by the Health Service Journal yesterday revealed that nearly a quarter of cases for the top-performing trusts in four-hour target rankings involved a patient seen between three hours and 50 minutes to four hours.

Target associated approach to AE queues means doctors abandon new patients

Some EDs see up to one in four patients within 10 minutes of the four hour target

Of patients seen within four hours at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust, Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and London North West University Healthcare Trust, 24 percent of them were seen within the last 10 minutes.

Experts warned that this “target-associated” approach could mean doctors abandoning emergency room newcomers to focus on seeing less severe patients who have waited three hours and 50 minutes.

Experts warned that this ‘target-associated’ approach could mean doctors abandon emergency room newcomers to focus on seeing less severe patients who have waited three hours and 50 minutes

Adrian Boyle, the president-elect of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told HSJ that this type of patient flow “could lead medics away from more sick cases to those with lower acuity,” adding: [the target]’ is ‘taken away’.

The four-hour target outlines that at least 95 percent of patients entering the ER should be admitted, transferred, or discharged within four hours.

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