They dash there 10 times a year

Daily Star - - NEWS - By ALEXAN­DER BROWN [email protected]­lystar.co.uk

TENS of thou­sands of pa­tients visit A&E more than 10 times a year, putting a huge strain on the NHS.

Some peo­ple can­not stop go­ing to ca­su­alty de­part­ments, with 10 mak­ing a mas­sive 2,000 vis­its be­tween them alone, new re­search shows.

Health­care anal­y­sis com­pany Dr Foster found that 31,492 peo­ple vis­ited A&E in Eng­land 10 or more times be­tween June 2017 and May last year.

“High in­ten­sity users” at­tended emer­gency de­part­ments 522,312 times, work­ing out at a stag­ger­ing av­er­age of 16 vis­its a year.

Dr Foster’s anal­y­sis found that 0.4% of all NHS pa­tients made up 4% of all A&E at­ten­dances, hit­ting a sig­nif­i­cant al­lo­ca­tion of NHS re­sources com­pared to every­one else.

The re­port claims pa­tients who went more than 20 times a year in 2016 cost the NHS £53mil­lion.

It ac­cused the High-In­ten­sity Users of putting ex­tra pres­sure on the NHS and forc­ing a huge rise in the cost of ser­vices.

The re­port added: “As well as gen­er­at­ing high health­care costs, HIUs also in­crease the risk of over­crowd­ing in emer­gency de­part­ments, af­fect­ing the safety and care that can be of­fered to other pa­tients.

“This rel­a­tively small pro­por­tion of pa­tients can, there­fore, have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on lim­ited NHS re­sources.

“It pre­sents an op­por­tu­nity to re­duce the strain on emer- gency ser­vices. It is also im­por­tant to un­der­stand why high in­ten­sity users are vis­it­ing A&E so fre­quently.

“Their needs are po­ten­tially not be­ing ad­dressed else­where in the sys­tem one way or an­other, what­ever the root cause of their vis­its.”

An NHS Eng­land spokesman said High-In­ten­sity Users would soon be helped by a new na­tion­wide pro­gramme.

He added: “The NHS long-term plan sets out a range of op­tions for peo­ple to get ur­gent and emer­gency care out­side A&E, in­clud­ing NHS 111 on­line and seven-day cri­sis care for men­tal ill-health.

“This is pre­cisely the sort of sup­port­ive and pos­i­tive ac­tion that is im­prov­ing pa­tient care while re­duc­ing pres­sure on ser­vices.

“It will be ramped up through the long-term plan for the NHS.”

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