What Happens When You Close an A&E Department? People Die!


May 31, 2013 by Protect Our NHS

NHS Worker submitted the comment below on our piece, Divide and Rule. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about it is that even the Daily Mail thinks that moving A&E services into one place and thereby creating longer journeys for some seriously ill patients, will mean that the death rate will increase. Yep, that’s THE DAILY MAIL. Yet these idiotic, half baked, evidence free, policy decisions continue to roll out of the Department of Health. What would it take for the civil servants in that department to down tools en masse and say to Jeremy (Spoonerism) Hunt – no? No more! Keep dancing to the tune of the private health lobby and your country will never forgive you! NHS worker’s second link – to an academic study tells the story in simple words.


Increased journey distance to hospital appears to be associated with increased risk of mortality. Our data suggest that a 10‐km increase in straight‐line distance is associated with around a 1% absolute increase in mortality.”

So if you live in Weston Super Mare and they shut the A&E department in Weston General Hospital- which is almost definitely going to happen – your chances of dying have just gone up by at least 3%… For no better reason than someone, somewhere didn’t say, no! No more! Stop with the entirely un-thought through cost saving exercises and think of the cost of a single human life. Think about the cost of your child’s life, your partner’s life, your friend’s life. Stop counting beans. Starting counting lives.

NHS Worker’s Comment

The question to ask is – what is the purpose of a large consultation exercise?

a) To get lots of ideas so that a really sensible plan can be formulated, based on what really matters to local patients (many of whom will have taken part),

or …

b) To add credibility to the plan that has already been formulated (and may be utter nonsense that no ordinary person would have come up with) on account of the large scale of the “consultation’ exercise.

Note the processes are different:

in a) – consult, plan, decide

in b) – plan, decide, consult

I think we know what we are getting all round the country, don’t we?

The problem is that the plan usually has basic flaws. A good example is that travelling further will result in amazingly better care when you get there. Apart from a few niche areas already in place such as major trauma (by helicopter) there is no evidence for this (it may sound right to the men in suits but that doesn’t mean it’s true). Indeed if you close an A&E, the mortality experience (and no doubt disability in survivors) increases overall with increased travel times. Read these:



(academic paper that reached the same conclusion)

2 thoughts on “What Happens When You Close an A&E Department? People Die!

  1. […] Save our NHS: What Happens when you close a local A&E Hospital:? People Die. […]

  2. […] Save our NHS: What Happens when you close a local A&E Hospital:? People Die. […]

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