Third of patients using accident and emergency departments could have used alternative.


- Credit: Archant

Latest NHS figures have revealed that more than over a third (111,012) of patients who attended one of the area’s A&E departments over the past year could have used an alternative service.

Health chiefs are urging people to consider whether an emergency department is the best treatment option, or if they could have visited a pharmacy or called NHS 111 for advice.

In the last few weeks, patients have attended A&E departments for minor ailments, including: a cotton bud stuck in an ear, a blister, an insect bite and loose teeth.

Tracy Dowling, chief officer of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “These latest figures highlight the increasing demand we are seeing on our A&E departments and the fact that many of the patients attending could actually have been treated elsewhere.

“It is crucial that people choose the right health service to ensure A&E is kept free for those who really need it. If you are unsure, then call NHS 111.”

A total of 309,414 patients attended an A&E in Cambridgeshire between April 2015 and April 2016. This was an increase of 10,000 on the previous year which equates to an additional 26 patients each day.

The figures show:

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* one in three (111,012) patients were discharged with no further treatment required;

* 8,876 patients left before being seen or refused to be treated;

* one in five (68,075) were admitted to hospital:

* one in eight (34,171) were children under the age of five - nearly half (15,136) of these were discharged with no further treatment required, whilst one in eight were admitted to hospital;

* one in five (60,510) were patients aged over 65 - one in five (12,072) of these were discharged with no further treatment, whilst over half (31,836) of these were admitted.

INFO: the figures cover A&E departments at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Peterborough City Hospital, Hinchingbrooke Hospital, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.