A joint statement from the President of RCPE, Prof Andrew Elder, the President of SAM, Dr Tim Cooksley and SAM Scotland representative, Dr Dan Beckett:

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) and the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM) have never been more concerned about standards of acute medical care across hospitals in the UK than we are now. At no point in the pandemic has the situation been as difficult. Whilst COVID 19 has not left us, and influenza is now contributing, these infections are not the primary cause of the problems.

With patients waiting many, many hours to be assessed and treated, sometimes in ambulances queueing outside our hospitals, the maxim that our patients should receive “the right care, in the right place, at the right time” has never been further away from the reality of what is actually being provided.

This is an issue central to patient safety and quality of care – the core values the RCPE and SAM represent and that all in the NHS seek to safeguard. If the current situation is not a crisis in acute care we ask our governments to define what they believe a crisis to be. 

Our Fellows and Members work in acute hospitals across the UK and fully concur with the statements already made by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine regarding the seriousness of the current situation.

We thank all healthcare staff in the NHS for their incredible work in recent weeks and in the weeks to come and offer both of our organisations full support to all governments of the United Kingdom to discuss urgently what steps can be taken to improve matters for our patients.


For media requests on 3 January please email Lindsay Paterson l.paterson@rcpe.ac.uk 

From 4 January onwards please contact Paul Gillen p.gillen@rcpe.ac.uk