London 24th June: Channel 4's Dispatches, Undercover A&E: NHS in Crisis, scheduled for broadcast this evening, shows scenes from an accident and emergency department in the United Kingdom that will alarm patients across the country. 

The Patients Association was invited to comment on the scenes filmed. We found them harrowing. But we do not believe they are unique to this one hospital. 

The issues this programme highlights are a system-wide issue. No English A&E department is meeting national targets for seeing patients. But as the crisis in the NHS has become embedded, this kind of patient experience is becoming normalised, when it is, in fact, completely unacceptable. 

The next Government must urgently address reversing the normalisation of this ongoing crisis in healthcare. Patients must always be able to have timely access to high-quality care. 

Patients Association Trustee Prof Alf Collins, who reviewed the footage and appears in the programme, said: “What we see is undignified and unsafe care for patients, which is not acceptable. These issues are not confined to just one hospital. They are common to overstretched A&E departments across England and people are dying as a result.” 

The Patients Association is calling on the next Government to introduce legislation on safe staffing levels across the NHS – a trained, competent and supported workforce with sufficient numbers to deliver high quality patient-centred care is essential to patient safety. Staff cannot be expected to deliver high-quality care when corridors are turned into wards and staff positions are vacant. 

Patients should be able to trust that when they go to hospital they will receive safe high-quality care.