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Rise in number of emergency hospital admissions

5th July 2010

A think tank has said the increase in emergency hospital admissions is "unsustainable" and is "overheating" the health service.

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The Nuffield Trust carried out analysis which found that the number of emergency hospital admissions had risen by 12% since 2004/05.

The trust found that the number of admissions stood at 4.9 million annually and cost the health service £11 billion a year.

The trust stated that the increase in the number of patients who spent less than a day in hospital showed that many admissions could be prevented.

They said the increase cost the NHS £330 million a year and was driven by a range of factors.

These factors included an older population and monetary incentives which encouraged hospitals to make more admissions.

Nuffield Trust director Dr Jennifer Dixon said: "Reversing this unsustainable rise in emergency admissions must be the number one priority for the NHS - any reform to the health service that does not tackle this will fail. Our hospitals are overheating and are treating patients at great cost to the NHS."

Nigel Edwards, acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents managers, said: "This report furthers the case for fundamentally reviewing the urgent and emergency care system."

 

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