Two-hour bed target for casualty patients asualty pati

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All casualty patients should be given a bed within two hours of admission from April next year under revised Patient's Charter standards, a health minister said yesterday, writes Liz Hunt.

Current standards say no patient should wait more than four hours but a series of cases in which seriously-ill patients were left lying on trolleys in corridors has prompted the Government to renew its commitment to improving waiting times.

But the Patient's Association said the target was unrealistic while there was a shortage of beds. Speaking at the launch of a draft "Children's Charter", which aims to make hospitals "more fun and less scary", John Bowis, health minister, said the two-hour maximum would also apply to children.

Mr Bowis said all casualty departments should have an area for children and parents to wait and there should be a resuscitation room for emergency paediatric cases. There is no new money for the initiative; hospitals would need to "redirect their resources" to comply with the new national standards.