Objective: To determine medical and nursing staffing levels in emergency departments in England and Wales.
Methods: A postal survey with an addressed return envelope was sent to all emergency departments in England and Wales enquiring about staffing levels and annual attendances.
Results: Responses were received from 91/202 departments (45%). Great variability was seen in medical and nursing staffing levels across departments in England and Wales. The predominant members of the medical workforce were SHO grade doctors. The number of senior and middle grade doctors generally increased as departments became larger. Nursing levels were not as responsive to departmental size.
Conclusions: There is great variability in staffing numbers in similar-sized departments, and most departments are understaffed in comparison with the recommendations of the British Association for Emergency Medicine to achieve the 4 h target at the 90% level.
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