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Long waits on hospital trolleys could be ended and a repeat of last winter's scandal avoided by the adoption of a six-point plan unveiled yesterday by nurses, who urge hospitals to plan ahead for increases in emergencies during the winter and appoint a bed manager to co-ordinate admissions.

The blueprint followed a survey showing that almost half of casualty departments had patients on trolleys overnight. The study of 75 A&E units carried out by the Royal College of Nursing last winter showed the crisis was particularly severe in London, where 70 per cent had patients on trolleys overnight and average waiting time was seven and a half hours. Under the Patient's Charter no one should spend more than two hours waiting on a trolley.