Transforming urgent and emergency care services in England

NHS urgent and emergency care services provide life-saving and life-changing care for patients who need medical help quickly and unexpectedly.  We know our accident and emergency departments are under increasing pressure and we want to improve the urgent and emergency care system so patients get safe and effective care whenever they need it.

This is just one part of a national approach to improving the way NHS services are delivered so that patients get high quality care from an NHS that is efficient now and secure for future generations.

Earlier this year the NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh announced a review into the way the NHS responds to and receives emergency patients, called the Urgent and Emergency Care Review. This is one of the priorities in the planning guidance for clinical commissioning groups called Everyone Counts.

A steering group chaired by Professor Keith Willett National Director for Domain three: Acute Episodes of Care at NHS England has developed an evidence base for change and some emerging principles. Please read the terms of reference for the steering group.

The review is looking to draw on the experience of patients and all professionals in the NHS and across social care.

Please read through the:

  • Evidence base for improving urgent and emergency care – the steering group has identified areas for improvement in the current system of urgent and emergency care. We want you to comment on and contribute to this evidence.
  • Emerging Principles– From the evidence base the steering group has developed four emerging principles for future services, 12 objectives that any new system should be shaped around, as well as some possible implementation solutions. Please help us by giving your views on these.

Why is your view important?

Your views will help us improve services.

Using your comments the steering group will revise the evidence base, and strengthen the emerging principles. This will help us decide how urgent and emergency care services should be designed and set up in the future. We will publish a revised evidence base and the principles for these services in Autumn 2013.

We will use your comments to develop a national planning framework for urgent and emergency care. Clinical commissioning groups will use this framework to organise your local urgent and emergency care services taking into account local issues and patient needs.

The survey and review was open for your feedback and comments until Sunday 11 August 2013. It has now closed.

For more information please email