It was previously understood that approximately 25% of patients attending A&E units could be re-directed to alternative centres of urgent care in the community.
New research from the College of Emergency Medicine, based on a review of over 3,000 patients across 12 sites, indicates that only 15% could have been treated in the community. This implies that policies to divert patients away from busy A&E departments might not work as well as thought.
Other approaches which might work effectively include locating GPs in A&E units to operate at consultant level and to treat the less urgent patients selectively.
NHS England agrees on the benefits of co-locating GPs alongside A&E units, and sees this as just one strategy alongside others; such as the provision of improved self-care advice, an enhanced NHS 111 and ambulance services able to offer skilled treatment at the scene.
Triggle, N. (2014). Most patients ‘right to go to A&E’. London: BBC Health News, May 22nd 2014.
More on the debate about A&E attendances, and how many A&E visits could be avoided:
Triggle, N. (2014). A&E: Are we asking the right question? London: BBC Health News, May 22nd 2014.
CEM and Candesic Research
The CEM and Candesic report receives more detailed coverage in the HSJ:
Mann, C. [and] Tempest, M. (2014). Beyond the official data: a different picture of A&E attendances. Health Service Journal (HSJ). May 22nd 2014.
There is a related file of statistical information obtainable from the same source.