Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Plan
The NHS and the government have published a new blueprint to help recover urgent and emergency care services, reduce waiting times, and improve patient experience.
Frontline capacity will be boosted further with around 800 new ambulances, including 100 specialist mental health vehicles, and around 5,000 more hospital beds, all backed by a £1 billion dedicated fund.
Urgent care in the community will also be expanded to allow patients to be treated at home and avoid a hospital admission. These services will operate 12 hours a day and ensure patients who fall or injured at home are seen within two hours, while same day emergency care units, staffed by emergency consultants and nurses, will open in every major A&E.
The NHS is committed to improving discharge processes and pilots of NHS step down care will be rolled out across the country, where patients will receive rehabilitation and physiotherapy in dedicated centres or at home.
Virtual wards are also set to be expanded to support thousands more patients in their own homes by the end of the year.
Growing and better supporting the NHS workforce is another key element of the plan, with the number of emergency medical technicians set to be expanded and greater flexibility given to 111 call handlers.
The NHS’ two major recovery ambitions are to achieve the A&E four-hour performance of 76% by March 2024 and improve category two ambulance response times to an average of 30 minutes over the next year.
These represent one of the fastest and longest sustained improvements in emergency waiting times in NHS history.