Warning over 'regular' users of hospital A&E

This Is Lancashire: Fairfield Hospital Fairfield Hospital

PEOPLE who go to accident and emergency units dozens of times a year are heaping pressure on hospital staff and services, a Bury health chief has warned.

It has been revealed that, in the 12 months up to April last year, 155 people attended accident and emergency (A&E) at North Manchester Hospital at least 10 times, and 74 people went to A&E at Fairfield Hospital on 10 or more occasions.

One patient passed through the doors of North Manchester’s A&E unit 100 times during the 12-month period.

Dr Kiran Patel, chairman of NHS Bury’s Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There are examples of where a very small number of patients attend A&E on a regular basis.

“There are many reasons why and some are patients with complex health conditions.

“It is a difficult challenge and is not unique to Bury.

“Attendances at A&E for conditions which could have been treated elsewhere does put pressure on an already very busy A&E service.

“GP practices are working hard to ensure patients who attend for a minor condition, or something that could have been dealt with at their GP practice, know all of their options.”

In January, health chiefs employed a doctor at Prestwich Walk-In Centre to encourage more people to go there rather than to A&E.

Dr Patel added: “We are focusing our energies on improving access to GP services in Bury.

“In Radcliffe, patients can get appointments seven days a week thanks to a pilot running in the town.

“We are also working with local practices to identify patients who are at risk of unplanned hospital admissions due to existing health conditions, to see if they may benefit from more preventive support to keep them well at home.”

The figures came from a Freedom of Information request made by the Bury Times and Radcliffe Times to Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which runs the hospitals.

Bury’s public health director Lesley Jones said: “A lot of work is being done across health and social care to identify and better support these people and reduce their need to attend A&E.

“Bury Council and Bury CCG are also working in partnership to improve the prevention and management of long-term conditions to help people stay as healthy and as independent as possible and reduce the need for hospital treatment.”

  • One person attended Fairfield A&E more than 50 times from April, 2010, to March, 2011.

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