Mike Smith puts the world to rights...
The latest statistics for Accident and Emergency admissions in England make miserable reading for anyone whose professional aim is to reduce avoidable use of secondary care. In the year to June 2014, there were more than 18 million A&E attendances, of which only 21 per cent resulted in admission to hospital. Of the remaining majority, 3.7 million (19.8 per cent) resulted in a GP follow-up. But by far the largest group – 7.1 million (38 per cent) – were discharged with no follow-up.
So, where were all the community-based healthcare professionals when those 7.1 million people decided they needed some medical advice?
It’s easy to presume that these consultations are the result of a worried parent woken up in the middle of the night with a feverish child – and of course, some of the time, this will be a correct assumption to make. But, worryingly, research presented at this year’s Pharmacy Show reveals that most A&E visits are made during the day, when pharmacies are open, and that the visits were made by people not just with young children, but also by those aged between 25 and 35 years old. Of those visits, a significant proportion was for minor ailments, including colds and flu, ear infections, cuts, bruises, thrush and cystitis.