A&E pressures blamed on minor injuries and NHS 111

BMA leaders have blamed the 'disastrous' introduction of NHS 111 for a surge in people being misdirected to emergency care, after data showed visits to minor A&E departments had risen 11 times faster than population growth since 2004.

A&E: visits to major centres were stable, but smaller units saw sharp rise

Analysis by the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed patients attending minor injury units and urgent care centres were behind the rising demand on the A&E system.

Attendances at type 1, major A&E departments rose only slightly above the rate of population increase over the same period.

There were a total of 22 million A&E attendances in 2012/13, compare with around 340 million GP consultations.

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said the key to alleviating pressure was an effective out-of-hours phone service. ‘Yet, the disastrous introduction of NHS 111 replaced a clinician-led service with a call centre and was responsible for many people being wrongly directed to emergency departments,’ he said.

He added: ‘The figures also shine a light on health inequality in the UK. It's a cause for serious concern that the most deprived make up the greatest proportion of attendees at emergency departments, an issue the government needs urgently to address. So too is the fact one in two elderly patients attending an emergency department are admitted to hospital, often because of poor access to more appropriate community based services.

He called for ‘system-wide reform’ of emergency departments and adequate funding.

The Keogh review last month called for faster access to primary care, an enhanced 111 service, a two-tiered emergency department system, and co-location of community urgent care services with uniformly-named urgent care centres.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Medicines on shelves

Dispensing practices face cashflow crisis as 'yo-yoing' fees fall sharply

Hundreds of dispensing practices across England face cashflow problems that could...

Female GP on a phone call wearing a headset

Seeing patients in person after multiple remote consultations

Dr Ellie Mein, medico-legal adviser at the Medical Defence Union (MDU), suggests...


Golden hello scheme brings in almost 3,000 new GP partners

Almost 3,000 GPs have become partners for the first time under a scheme offering...


Government confirms £2.45 core pay uplift to support 6% practice pay rise

Global sum payments per weighted patient will rise from £102.28 to £104.73 for 2023/24...

Nurse giving elderly man the flu vaccination

Flu vaccination prevented 25,000 hospitalisations last year

Health officials are urging vulnerable people to come forward for their flu jab after...

BMA strikes

Public blame government for long NHS waits as three-day strike begins

Three times as many people blame the government for the record 7.7m NHS waiting list...