The number of emergency medicine consultant posts needs to increase from 740 to 1,500 by 2012, according to the College of Emergency Medicine.

The College claimed inexperienced junior doctors deliver the majority of emergency care. It said the number of consultants needs to increase to ensure each emergency department has a qualified emergency medicine specialist to lead and supervise care, leading to fewer patients being incorrectly discharged, unnecessarily admitted or kept waiting for too long.

Incoming college president John Heyworth said: “Emergency departments are the only consistent, reliable and always available source of emergency care and they need to be staffed appropriately.

“Junior doctors should not be left unsupervised to deal with difficult diagnostic problems.”