In a panel discussion tackling the Emergency Care Crisis at Hospital Directions recently three NHS Trust CEO's argued that the all year round influx of elderly patients was the real concern facing A&E.
The panel included Stuart Bain, CEO of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust, Dr Alfa Sa'adu Medical Director Ealing Hospital NHS Trust and Mary Edwards CEO, Hampshire Hospital NHS Foundation, and all concluded that the talk of specific winter crisis is incorrect.
In a heated debate a member of the audience pointed out that in fact data shows the admission rates are the same throughout the year and winter is certainly not the main reason A&E departments across the UK are failing.
The panel agreed and pinpointed the aging population as the real issue and because of that, the change in the kind of care that is required.
According to Stuart Bain; "Over 30% of patients in our hospitals need care for confusion right up to dementia, they're there for acute illness [dementia] which was not the case 20 years ago. My staff are not well trained for mental health'.
Mr Bain added by saying 'We need to train our GPs to care for the elderly, rather than A&E departments'
The panel believed it was crucial for hospitals to increase their geriatric units and train staff in mental health in order to deal with the increasing number of elderly patients.