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A&E units in need of emergency care

Officials have called for "fundamental change" in the way emergency care systems are run, following a report by the College of Emergency Medicine that says A&E units are grappling with “unsustainable workloads” and lack of staff.

The authors of the report said only two fifths of departments surveyed said that they usedpatient experience as an indicator of care quality, yet the Francis report into the scandal at Stafford Hospital highlighted that many patients or families at the hospital were not listened to by the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Board when they raised concerns about poor patient care.

The report said mistakes that should never occur in the NHS happened in one in every 17 accident and emergency wards in just one year. These "never events" includesurgical instruments being left inside patients or operations being carried out on the wrong body part.

Dr Patrick Cadigan, registrar of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), said: "The RCP very much welcomes this report. Emergency care systems must be redesigned to better deliver high quality care for patients in a time of need, whilst ensuring clinicians' workloads and working practices are safe and sustainable."