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A & E bailout response.


A £500 million Government bailout for struggling Accident & Emergency units in England has been criticised as “papering the cracks” by doctors.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that the bailout was a “short term measure” and that more needed to be done to improve A & E.

The British Medical Association said that it was a sign that austerity had failed. The money – which will come from existing budgets – will be deployed in A & E units and in community services such as pharmacies. The funding has been announced as fears rise that there could be a crisis in hospital care this winter.

Although the significant problems in A & E units have eased over the summer months there were problems between January and March when the NHS missed its 4 hour waiting time target. At that stage long waits hit the highest level for 9 years.

The announcement of the bailout was met with a lukewarm response. Labour's Lord Hunt cautiously welcomed the move, but warned the money could be too little, too late. Dr Clifford Mann, President of the College of Emergency Medicine indicated that he had “real concerns” about how the money would be allocated. A spokesman for the British Medical Association (BMA) said it was right that the Government was listening to the concerns of doctors and patients but added : “at a time when they are demanding cuts of £20 billion across the NHS, this is nothing more than papering over the cracks”.