Keynote Address: United Kingdom Experiences of Evaluating Performance and Quality in Emergency Medicine


  • Suzanne Mason FRCS, FFAEM, MD

    1. From the Director of Health Services Research, School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
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  • Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by 1R13HS020139-01 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. This issue of Academic Emergency Medicine is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • Supervising Editor: James Miner, MD.

  • The authors have no relevant financial information or potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

Address for correspondence and reprints: Suzanne Mason, FRCS, FFAEM, MD; e-mail:


ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:1234–1238 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine


Demand for emergency care is rising throughout the western world and represents a major public health problem. Increased reliance on professionalized health care by the public means that strategies need to be developed to manage the demand safely and in a way that is achievable and acceptable to both consumers of emergency care, but also to service providers. In the United Kingdom, strategies have previously been aimed at managing demand better and included introducing new emergency services for patients to access, extending the skills within the existing workforce, and more recently, introducing time targets for emergency departments (EDs). This article will review the effect of these strategies on demand for care and discuss the successes and failures with reference to future plans for tackling this increasingly difficult problem in health care.