As a consultant trauma surgeon for over 20 years I have seen and experienced (literally at the sharp end) the contribution that a safe, efficient, and strong urgent and emergency care system makes to all our lives, and those of our friends and family.
Therefore, I was delighted to assist Sir Bruce by leading the Urgent and Emergency Care Review.
But I was also keen to get involved for another reason. As a doctor who has worked in the system for a number of years I am aware first hand of the pressure it us under. Sadly, this is nothing new. These pressures have always been there. There have been numerous initiatives aimed, in good faith and with good intentions, at tackling these pressures - none have really succeeded.
That is the problem that this Review must solve – finding lasting solutions to deliver a better and more sustainable urgent and emergency care system.
We started this work by mobilising a steering group of experts to develop an evidence base for change, which we then used to help us develop some principles and objectives which we believed should underpin any new system. We engaged over the summer on these and the report we have published today explains what we learned, and how this will help us as this Review moves forward.
I would like to thank the members of the steering group for their help in developing the materials we engaged on, and the patients, members of the public, NHS staff and organisations who responded.
The clear and unmistakable message from the engagement exercise is that we can’t just tinker with the existing system and hope that will help us solve the problems it faces. We need to be bolder than that, and more radical.
We can’t allow ourselves to be discouraged by the size of the task (which is significant) or the complexity of the problems we face. Users of the system, and those who work in and operate it, are all agreed – things must change. We have a privileged opportunity through this Review to deliver real and lasting change.
But we need your help to make the most of this opportunity. Patients and the public should rightly have a say on the system which they use. We understand how important urgent and emergency care services are to local people, and how hard NHS staff and organisations work to deliver the best outcomes for the people they serve.
That is why you have our commitment that, as this Review progresses, we will regularly update you on progress so that you can see, and perhaps more importantly, comment upon what we are doing.
This starts with our end of Phase 1 report. Tell us what you think. What have we got right? What have we got wrong? What do we need to think about more closely?