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Accident and Emergency Departments

Volume 456: debated on Friday 2 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the size of population a typical “super A&E” as defined by the National Director for Emergency Access on page 4 of his report Emergency access - clinical case for change, published 5 December 2006, should serve. (115021)

It is a matter for the local national health service to ensure the provision of appropriate services, including accident and emergency facilities, to meet people’s needs.

There is increasing consensus among professional bodies that a critical size of hospital is required to ensure that specialist facilities are available to treat all patients with emergency needs safely. While the actual populations hospitals will serve in the future will differ slightly across the country, in general it may be that they will need to serve larger populations than is currently the case. Different clinical specialties may also have different demands in terms of the number of cases required to maintain clinical expertise.