Urgent and emergency care

Patients accessing urgent and emergency care are often doing so when they are at their most frightened and vulnerable, and it is vital that health and social care professionals work together to ensure that they receive the right care, in the right place, and at the right time. GPs play a vital role - both in and out of hours - in delivering safe and effective urgent care to millions of people every year.

However, too often different parts of our urgent and emergency care system are fragmented and don't link up with each other to the benefit of patients. The system as a whole - from GPs to A&E doctors, ambulance services and social care - is also under increasing pressure as the health needs of our ageing population become more complicated.

Health Select Committee Inquiry, July 2013

In July 2013 the Health Select Committee published a report on the current and future challenges facing urgent and emergency care services in England. RCGP welcomed the Committee's findings - particularly its conclusion that fragmentation of services is making is difficult for patients to access the right care at the right time, and that primary care need more resources to deliver urgent care to patients.

RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada gave oral evidence to the Committee, a video of which can be watched by clicking on the link below (from 1 hour 7 minutes in):

Commissioning guide

The RCGP's Centre for Commissioning has produced a guide for Commissioners setting out our vision for a 'whole system' approach to urgent and emergency care.

Joint statement on the urgent and emergency care of children and young people

This document, produced in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) aims to set clear standards and guidance for service planning and commissioning of urgent and emergency care services to patients aged 0-16 years.

Other resources

There is an urgent care group on the RCGP members' forum.