Around 35 per cent of all admissions in the NHS in England are classified as emergency admissions, costing approximately £11 billion a year. Admitting a patient to hospital as an emergency case is costly and frequently preventable, yet the number of emergency admissions to hospital has been rising for some time. There has also been a rise in the use of other health care services such as attendance in A&E departments and consultations in general practice.
In our report, Trends in emergency admissions in England 2004 – 2009: is greater efficiency breeding inefficiency? we examine the key figures behind the rise in admissions and attempt to identify the possible causes, including the impact of targets, the ageing population, and variations across different hospitals. In this interview, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Dr Jennifer Dixon CBE reports on the key findings and recommendations.