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News source says UK ER patients sometimes wait 12 hours for treatment
08.10.2012Although American hospitals have been known to keep people in need of emergency medicine waiting for longer than they should, a recent article published in the Telegraph says the problem is much worse in the United Kingdom.
Many British institutions could benefit from more education about urgent care services, which may be better equipped to treat individuals whose conditions are not life threatening more quickly than emergency department physicians, considering their time and resource limits.
According to the British Health Services Journal, since the start of 2012, the waiting times for beds at U.K. emergency departments rose exponentially. The Telegraph added that waits that could last as long as 12 hours increased by almost 33 percent in the last eight months.
"It's a high pressure system. Small changes in demand make a big change in waiting. We are asking wards to handle more patients faster," said U.K. College of Emergency Medicine president Mike Clancy, as quoted by the news source.
Professor Matthew Cooke, the national clinic director for urgent and emergency care at the U.K. Department of Health, was also quoted as saying that some of the waits included diagnoses and care, and mentioned that patients who require an ambulance ride to the hospital waited for 49 minutes on average.
ER overcrowding in the U.S.
Experts say the U.S. is not without its own emergency room overcrowding problems. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) noted in 2009 that patients who required emergency medicine within one to 14 minutes were often being seen in 37 minutes.
Some of the problem is due to overcrowding. While addressing the mHealth World Congress that took place in Boston from June 25-27, Dr. David J. Mathison complained of patients arriving to his ER with symptoms that "were so trite and simple that they didn't need a doctor or nurse," as quoted by Health Imaging. He went on to compare emergency rooms to afterhours safety nets for people with simple questions and concerns.
However, the ACEP doesn't blame patients. Instead, it points to the shortage of supplies and finances that forces emergency department physicians to prioritize seeing their sickest patients first. The ACEP also warns that any diagnostic testing an individual requires could also add to his or her wait time.
Categories: Emergency medicine
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