The A&E blame game

Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, wonders who is going to get the blame for the A&E crisis next.

Clare Gerada
5 June 2013

Interviewed on the Today programme yesterday I was rather taken aback that - having spent two weeks defending GPs against the unfair accusation that we are responsible for the recent increase in pressures on Emergency Departments - the debate had now moved to blaming immigrants. I accept that some new immigrants - especially those from countries without a tradition of General Practice - use the Emergency Department as a first point of contact with healthcare. But this is not the reason why we have seen around a 1.8% year on year rise in attendances to Emergency Departments, nor the recent sudden 5% increase (5%) reported by the Kings Fund.

I found myself wondering who would be blamed next - the poor, the sick, the elderly? Rather, we need to stop back, examine the facts and see if we can develop a solution - as the Health Select Committee is trying to do. Paradoxically I went from BBC studios to give evidence at the Health Select Committee and had a much more reasoned debate and question time with parliamentarians from all parties. It’s exhausting having to do the background work to keep informed of all the machinations coming GPs way - but I have to in order to be able to debunk myths and tell the great British public what is actually going on.



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