The number of consultants working in Scotland’s emergency departments is set to increase, it has been confirmed.
Over £3 million will be invested over the next three years as part of an innovative £50 million action plan which aims to shake-up the way unscheduled care is delivered in every part of our NHS.
The numbers of consultants have increased from 76 whole time equivalent (wte) in September 2006 to 149.0 (wte) in March 2013 an increase of 96.7 per cent.
Health boards will begin to recruit the extra 18 consultants immediately.
Health Secretary Alex Neil said:
“This is a significant investment and is testimony to how seriously we are taking the work to improve services for our patients.
“More people than ever before are coming to hospital as emergency admissions due to the ageing population. We need to make sure emergency services are fit for the future.
“That’s why our task force is mobing swiftly with plans to transform unscheduled care in Scotland.
“In the coming months, and in collaboration with NHS boards and other key stakeholders including the College of Emergency Medicine, we will be further investing in developing services to ensure we have the best system possible.”
Unscheduled care expert Jim Crombie is leading the task force. Mr Crombie said:
“We had advice from the NHS Boards, College of Emergency Medicine and others that we needed to increase the number of consultants, and we have done that as quickly as possible.
“We know that when a consultant leads the service that patients receive more effective, and efficient care. In many cases this can mean that patients do not need to be admitted to hospital but rather have rapid diagnosis of their problem, treatment options discussed and agreed then initiated in the A&E department and as these rapid interventions take effect, these patients can be released home.
“This is the first phase of our comprehensive investment programme that look at the whole range of systems and teams that provide emergency care. The task force are committed to ensuring a transformational change in how we deliver services.”
Dr Jason Long, Chair of the College of Emergency Medicine added:
“We fully welcome this investment in emergency medicine consultants.
“Continued investment in unscheduled care is critical. This staffing increase, and the work of the Action Plan, will see care further improve for patients in Scottish emergency departments.