comment: IT and nurse practitioners can play a key role in getting trolley waits down

Trolley waits are an interminable problem for the NHS. The confirmation from the Audit Commission - and from trusts themselves - that, despite their best efforts, the problem continues to grow provides a dire warning as the flu season approaches.

But there remain a few obvious ways in which accident and emergency departments can reduce waiting times. The fact that so few make full use of nurse practitioners, and that as many as one in seven do not have a computer system is startling. Whatever initiatives can be employed to deal with the problem through systems redesign, demand management or inter-agency working, there is nothing more important than getting the basics right.