Some patients are going to A&E units in the UK more than 50 times a year

  • Posted

Posted 07/01/2014

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The BBC has reported that nearly 12,000 people made more than ten visits to the same Accident & Emergency (A&E) unit in 2012-13. A small number of those, just over 150, attended more than 50 times.

Doctors have warned that the issue, while confined to a minority of patients, is adding to the mounting pressures on the system this winter.

A variety of issues have caused some patients to become frequent visitors, including mental health issues and drug and alcohol related problems. Others attend A&E repeatedly because they have difficulty obtaining an appointment at their GP surgery or have had good experiences with A&E in the past.

Sophie Bales, a medical injury solicitor at Ashtons Legal, comments: “These  figures are concerning as they suggest that already overstretched A&E services are being put under further strain. Many patients attend A&E inappropriately when they should be accessing other services in their community or attending their GP. Long waiting lists at some GP surgeries and a confusing and inadequate out of hours services have contributed to this problem. There is also severe lack of support in the community for patients suffering from alcohol or drug related problems and mental health issues. It is vital that something is done to prevent inappropriate repeat visits to A&E as it detracts from the time health professionals are able to spend attending to genuine emergencies which can be life-threatening.”


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