Repeat A&E attendances: Triage or Tragedy? A Medical Injury blog

Repeat attendances at A&E are on the increase. Information provided to the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that nearly 12,000 people made more that 10 visits to the same unit in 2012 – 2013. In one alarming case, a patient attended some 234 times in a year! Whilst clearly an extreme example, there is no doubt that the number of repeat attendance has increased.

Some commentators believe that successful hospitals offering great triage, diagnostic facilities and treatment is encouraging patients to return to hospitals, rather than see their GP. Others comment that poor service from their GP and the lack of out of hours surgery, means people have no choice but to visit hospital.

Successful hospitals should be praised and not criticised for encouraging repeat attendances. GP hours are being addressed, but all too often GPs are working long hours. From my experience of working with a variety of medically injured clients; better use of triage facilities, greater information to the public on where to get non urgent advice, as well as better communication within the hospital would result in less repeat attendances. The NHS cant do anything about the extreme patients that want to attend 234 times in a year, but they can for the rest of A&E users.