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A&E is a brand; it is among the best known brands in the UK and is trusted and loved by the UK public. Why? Because they know when all else fails, when other agencies just don’t or won’t respond, their local A&E department will be there for them 24/7, 365 days a year.
Confirmation of this is available daily in every emergency department in the UK, with patient attendances at the highest since the inception of the National Health Service (NHS).
Yet, as the paper by Moulton and colleagues reports,1 this trust and indeed the dedicated service of the clinicians is being undermined by a killer and one that for far too long the government, NHS leadership, trust boards and their chief executives have chosen to ignore or simply blame patients for having the temerity to turn up.
For at least the last 12 years and more, we have seen cuts after cuts to the budget of the NHS, leading to reduced bed numbers and staffing. This is bad enough in itself but has been further compounded by …
Handling editor Ellen J Weber
Contributors This commentary was completed based upon my own knowledge and experience of the policies and the stated policies on this subject of the lay group of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.
Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests DP is a lay member of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and former Chair of the RCEM lay committee.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.