Responding to reports the Chief Executive of NHS England that the four hour emergency department target could be significantly altered' in England, Royal College of Nursing Professional Lead for Acute and Emergency Care Anna Crossley said:
“It is imperative that hospitals have the staff and resources to give timely care within current guidelines - tinkering with targets to make them easier to hit is the wrong approach. Axing it or loosening it without evaluating alternatives puts patient safety at risk and sends a terrible signal that waiting times do not matter.”
“In fact what matters most right now is that we guarantee the safety of our patients by committing to their health and the four hour target.This evidence-based measure isn’t arbitrary and we agree with other royal colleges that its removal would have an adverse effect on patient safety.
“Nurses must be involved in any substantial reconfigurations of the standards they’re working towards. But more urgently, NHS England and the Government must solve the workforce crisis that leads to missed targets by investing in nurse numbers, nursing higher education and enshrining safe staffing levels in law.“