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Home Industry News ‘Essential’ to retain local emergency services

‘Essential’ to retain local emergency services

22nd August 2007

Research published this week in the Emergency Medical Journal has argued that more local accident and emergency centres are required to improve services for patients.

According to the report, patients suffering from acute breathing difficulties have a 20 per cent chance of death if required to travel over 12 miles for treatment, with the risk of death increasing for every mile travelled.

It has been claimed patients requiring emergency care would benefit from receiving this care as soon as possible, with it detrimental to their chances of survival to travel longer distances for supposedly an improved standard of care.

Professor Jon Nicholl, director of the Medical Care Research Unit at the University of Sheffield, said: “Our data suggests that any changes that increase journey distances for all emergency patients may lead to an increase in mortality for some.

“Patients who are in anaphylactic shock, choking, drowning, or having an acute asthma attack need urgent care that would be the same wherever it is provided.”

He added that a short trip to a local accident and emergency clinic would improve survival rates compared to a longer distance to a specialist hospital.

In its response to this paper, the Patients Association have claimed that the report is essentially flawed.

Spokesperson Vanessa Bourne told politics.co.uk that the period of research up to 2001 predates the effects of recent investment in the health services, while it was also limited to four ambulance authorities and excluded air ambulances.

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