District hospital bosses have talked about their plans to cope with winter demand as an MPs report raises concerns about A&E staffing across the country.
The Commons health select committee published the report last Wednesday, saying more than 80 per cent of A&E units in England do not have enough consultants on duty.
It also raised concerns about the difficulty of recruiting doctors to work in A&E departments, as they are increasingly put off by the stress and long hours involved.
The committee said it feared the situation would worsen next winter – traditionally when A&E departments are at their busiest.
However, TimBirch, assistant director of resilience and emergencies at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said it was already working hard to put plans in place to cope with increasing demand during the winter months.
He said: “I’m confident we are doing all we can to mitigate the effects of winter. We will be affected by the budgetry pressures on both local authorities and the NHS, but the only way through is to work together.”
Mr Birch said the trust introduced new emergency planning measures last winter, working with local councils and its clinical commissioning groups, which manage GP care.
He said: “One example is our ‘slippy day’ plan, which sees orthopaedics changing the way they work so more consultants are available to deal with falls.
“In Pontefract on December 14 there were nearly double the attendances due to falls on ice, but only three more than normal had to be admitted because we had more senior doctors on hand.”