A union rep, once more described as a ‘leading physician’ is platformed by BBC Scotland to inaccurately and irresponsibly exaggerate the effects of current pressures on A&E:
Several of Scotland’s A&E departments want emergency measures brought in because of concerns about patient safety, a leading clinician has said. Dr John Paul Loughrey, of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said patients were being kept in “inhumane” conditions due to high occupancy. On Sunday, RCEM president Dr Adrian Boyle said between 300 and 500 people were dying every week across the UK as a result of delays to emergency care – this appeared to be based on research published by the Emergency Medical Journal.
He said a severe flu outbreak, which was made worse by a lack of immunity because of Covid isolation measures, has resulted in bed occupancy reaching record levels. Dr Loughrey, who is RCEM vice president in Scotland, said the figure was around 50 deaths per week north of the border.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-64147743
This will scare some folk off attending. That will have consequences. I would not be so base as to dream up a number as Boyle has done.
His ‘around 50 deaths per week north of the border’ is just based on a worst ‘our share’ of the 300-500 estimate his UK bosses have come up with. So, our A&E is around 15% faster than NHS England yet we get the maximum estimate?
As for that research, from NHS England figures, only:
Delays to hospital inpatient admission for patients in excess of 5 hours from time of arrival at the ED are associated with an increase in all-cause 30-day mortality. Between 5 and 12 hours, delays cause a predictable dose–response effect. For every 82 admitted patients whose time to inpatient bed transfer is delayed beyond 6 to 8 hours from time of arrival at the ED, there is one extra death.https://emj.bmj.com/content/39/3/168
That’s a 1.2% increase in mortality for those who wait ‘beyond 6-8 hours’ in English A&E departments. The research offers no such estimate as the 300 to 500 the RCEM come up with. ‘Appears to be based on?’ Indeed.
On 13 December 2022, BBC Scotland, reporting on deaths, in all locations:
New National Records of Scotland (NRS) statistics found that during quarter three, July – September, the number of deaths was 10% above the average. There were 14,925 deaths during that period.
NRS said the number of deaths from cancer, heart disease, dementia and respiratory disease all increased.
But it said there was no one cause of the spike in deaths.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-63954802
The words ‘ambulance’ or ‘A&E’ do not appear in the above report.
What about the actual death rate for 2022? 14 925, down from 15 148 in 2021.
Finally, the well-established triage system in A&E means that those in danger of dying are quickly dealt with. The delays do cause suffering for patients and for staff but should not be fatal. The Royal College should not be scare-mongering like this. Lives will be lost.