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10% of A&E posts are empty

A&E departments in London are bearing the brunt of the staffing crisis

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 09 September 2013

One in ten posts in England’s accident and emergency departments are vacant according to data released under the Freedom of Information Act.

A total of 101 hospital trusts, out of 166 contacted, responded to a BBC 5 live Freedom of Information for information on vacant A&E posts. Overall the investigation found that these hospital trusts had 1,260 vacant posts, or on average 9.7% of its posts vacant as of August 2013. The majority of these posts were nursing roles. Sixteen of the 101 trusts which responded said they had more consultants, doctors and nurses than they had budgeted for.

A&E departments in London had the largest proportion of vacancies, with the highest proportion of vacancies reported by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS trust

Up to 43% of posts were unfilled at the two A&E sites at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS trust. The trust said it was 302 staff short, including 12 consultant, 41 doctor and 75 nurse posts.

The next three trusts with the largest proportion of vacant posts were Croydon Health Services, Ealing, and North West London

Dr Clifford Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, said describing the staffing situation as a "crisis".

"The college has received many reports for some time about the problems staffing emergency departments," he said.

"The impact for patient care is that there are fewer doctors to see them, which means that most patients may have to wait longer than we would ideally wish them to wait, in order to be seen There's a delay in making key decisions and that in turn can have an implication for their recovery and wellbeing."

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