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Watchdog: UK Growth of Emergency Admissions Puts National Healthcare at Risk

© AP Photo / Kirsty WigglesworthAmbulance in UK (File)
Ambulance in UK (File) - Sputnik International
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National Health Service of England treats too many emergency admissions, exerting pressure on the health and social care systems, the National Audit Office said on Friday.

"The impact on hospitals of rising emergency admissions poses a serious challenge to both the service and financial position of the [National Health Service]", the watchdog said.

The Health Service of England defines an emergency admission to be ‘‘unpredictable and at short notice because of clinical need’.’ National Audit Office, an organization scrutinizing public spending, has published a report stating that there was a 2.1 percent increase in emergency admissions between 2016 and 2017.

While some emergency admissions are clinically appropriate and unavoidable, others could be avoided by providing alternative forms of urgent care, or by providing appropriate care and support earlier to prevent a person becoming unwell enough to require an emergency admission, the watchdog found.

Britain's Home Secretary, Theresa May, addresses the Conservative Spring Forum in central London, Britain April 9, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The report recognizes the efforts of the Health Service to cut the impact of growing admissions by reducing length of stay and growing daycare treatment, but avoidable admissions and reported increases in readmissions are numerous, and the challenge of managing emergency admissions is far from being under control, the watchdog said.

The Health Foundation claims that in the past 15 years there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital in an emergency, and it is not entirely clear what is causing this rising tendency. A common line is that emergency admissions have been driven up by the rise in the population of over 65 years old. However, studies show that demographics can explain less than a half of the total growth, the Foundation says.

A 2017 study, published in Health Services Research, shows that hospitals’ increasing success in reducing patients’ mortality has impact on the subsequent utilization of emergency services over a long period and may account for about 37 percent of the increase.

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