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A&E attendances increasing, official report shows


4 December 2013

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A&E is dealing with 60,000 attendances each day, an increase of more than 10%, a new report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has revealed. 
Major injury units dealt with the majority of attendees (66%) but this number has dropped 3% since last year’s report. The number of people attending minor injury units has increased from 28% to 32%. 
The figures also show that overall, around a third of patients only receive “guidance or advice” when attending A&E. 

A&E is dealing with 60,000 attendances each day, an increase of more than 10%, a new report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has revealed. 
Major injury units dealt with the majority of attendees (66%) but this number has dropped 3% since last year’s report. The number of people attending minor injury units has increased from 28% to 32%. 
The figures also show that overall, around a third of patients only receive “guidance or advice” when attending A&E. 
HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said that A&E is too complex to be fully explained by statistics. 
Health Minister Lord Earl Howe said: “A&Es are performing well and meeting national targets, despite seeing more patients. But, as these data show, we know there’s more pressure on the system and we’ve taken action to address this.
“We’re investing £400 million in measures to relieve short term winter pressures and, longer term, we’re integrating health and social care and bringing back the link between GPs and elderly patients, to enable more people to receive the treatment they need away from A&E.” 
But by bringing together a range of statistical data and analysis, the HSCIC found that despite government plans to improve capacity in A&E over winter, A&E attendances peak in April to June.
Dr Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association council said: “Rising attendance rates coupled with the government's drive to do more with less mean many emergency departments are under extreme pressure and are close to capacity.
“Emergency departments are the front door to patients accessing acute services. It’s clear that, in addition to addressing a funding shortfall, system-wide reform is needed to get to grips with the increasing pressure they are facing. But we also need to think about the care patients who are admitted require, and ensure there is adequate funding and resources across the system.”
Dr Porter said it was a cause for “serious concern” that half of all A&E attendees aged over 64 are admitted to hospital. 
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