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Rowan Atkinson, the UK comedian, in a wonderful piece of comedy nearly 30 years ago, demonstrated that timing is everything to make a joke work successfully. Elite athletes will tell you that the difference between victory and defeat is a matter of the smallest degree; all too often it comes down to correctly or incorrectly timing the movement that leads to the decisive winning or losing action.
Timing is also crucial in successfully winning the hearts and minds of politicians. Get it right and the world may be your oyster; get it wrong and the opportunity may be lost for a generation. In April of this year, the UK College of Emergency Medicine published an important document called Emergency Medicine Consultants—Workforce Recommendations. It is brief and to the point, being only 11 pages long, is well written, arguing its case in clear no-nonsense language. The main thrust of the paper can be summarised as follows.
The average number of consultants in each ED in England is 4.39. Most type 1 EDs see in excess of 60 000 new patients per annum (60% of …
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