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Accident And Emergency

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 26 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has commissioned to study the relationship between clinical outcomes and the distance patients have to travel to accident and emergency departments at district hospitals; and if he will make a statement on its conclusions. [16956]

In January 1996 the Department published a review of Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments as part of the Health Care Needs Assessment series. In addition in May 1995 the Department published the "Review of Literature on Accident and Emergency Departments and Clinical Outcomes". Copies are available in the Library.Health authorities and National Health Service trusts should provide an accident and emergency service which meets the needs of local people. The distance people have to travel to accident and emergency departments will therefore vary according to local circumstances.There is evidence that seriously ill and injured patients do better in larger departments where a high proportion of care is offered by consultant staff, with access to backup from a range of specialist departments.