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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
Emergency medicine czar appointed
A&E
The aim is to improve patient access
The government has appointed a senior doctor to oversee the reform of emergency care.

Professor Sir George Alberti, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians, will become the new National Clinical Director for Emergency Access.


It's unacceptable that anyone should have to wait substantial periods of time before being seen, diagnosed and treatments started

Professor Sir George Alberti
His remit will cover the whole range of emergency care from ambulance services, admission to hospital and subsequent care.

One of his main roles will be to improve access for patients to the emergency care system across the country.

Sir George's responsibilities will include:

  • advising on implementing the Government's 10 year strategy to reform emergency care and improve emergency services
  • improving overall patient experience of emergency care
  • acting as a link between policy and clinical colleagues across the NHS
  • helping with interventions in individual Trusts facing difficulties with emergency care
Sir George said: "I think it's unacceptable that anyone should have to wait substantial periods of time before being seen, diagnosed and treatments started.

"A lot of this is about changing the way we organise the work, and it's not just a question of A&E departments, it's a question of co-ordinating help for people at home or in the community."

Sir George said a more integrated approach was needed towards the organisation of emergency care across the country.

"Emergency care is delivered against a background of frenetic activity.

"The biggest challenge is to ensure people across the system are able to create the 'think time' to look positively at the way services are delivered."

Experienced

Health Minister David Lammy said Sir George's appointment was "excellent news" for patients.

He said: "Sir George brings with him enormous clinical and managerial expertise and he can act as a catalyst for change in emergency care services around the country.

"Our plans for reform of emergency care go beyond A&E departments. We need to ensure the whole healthcare system - including ambulance services, primary care and social services - are closely involved.

"Sir George's role will be to help make these links so we can improve the patient experience of emergency care for the future."

John Heyworth, president of the British Association of Accident and Emergency Medicine, said much work was needed to improve emergency care.

John Heyworth
John Heyworth said improvements were needed
"We have unrelenting demand, the numbers of patients attending our departments continues to rise, and the vast majority of those patients really need to be there.

"We want to give them the prompt, high quality which the patients expect, but at the moment we are restricted by staffing numbers which remain woefully low."

Sir George will work on a secondment basis for two and a half days a week.

He is an expert on diabetes, an was co-chairman of the National Service Framework on coronary heart disease.

See also:

23 Apr 02 | Health
24 Feb 00 | Health
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