Nearly 600 visits to Northampton A&E by just 20 patients last year

Northampton General Hospital. File picture.

Northampton General Hospital. File picture.

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Northampton General Hospital’s 20 most frequent A&E attenders racked up an astonishing 587 visits between them last year.

The most frequent visitor to the town’s casualty department was a man aged 18 who visited 52 times - an average of once per week.

There were also a woman aged 22 who clocked up 48 visits, a woman aged 56 who visited 43 times and a 33-year-old woman who visited A&E 37 times.

An NGH spokesman said: “We do have a number of patients who are treated in A&E frequently. It’s very important that we appreciate the distinction between patients attending inappropriately and those attending frequently. There are usually multiple issues at the heart of these individuals’ lives; their overall needs are quite complex and not limited to the health sector. Common themes include homelessness, substance misuse and mental health issues.

“While we can treat their immediate condition or cause of attendance at A&E, we will also alert our clinical commissioning group to cases of repeated attendances so that additional support can be put in place at a community level wherever possible.”

The figures were revealed in the same week it was announced that Northampton General Hospital is to set up a specialist team to help those with chronic conditions who attend A&E more than five times each year.

During the winter, hospitals in Northamptonshire have had to ask people not to go to A&E unless it was a real emergency because of intense pressure on services.

And yesterday it was revealed that, nationally, the NHS has had its busiest year in history with nearly 23m A&E visits in the past 12 months - a rise of more than 500,000 from the previous year.

There were a total of 30,383 to NGH’s A&E department in 2015. And 587 of them were from the top 20 ‘frequent flyers’.

The figures below, for January 2015 to December 2016, were revealed after a Freedom of Information request by this paper have now revealed how many times each of the top 20 most frequent visitors attended the department.

Twenty most frequent visitors to NGH A&E in 2015

1) Male, aged 18, attended 52 times.

2) Female, aged 22, attended 48 times

3) Female, aged 56, attended 43 times

4) Female, aged 33, attended 37 times

=5) Female, aged 26, attended 33 times

=5) Male, aged 41, attended 33 times

7) Male, aged 52, attended 30 times

8) Male, aged 59, attended 29 times

=9) Male, aged 47, attended 25 times

=9) Female, aged 30, attended 25 times

=9) Male, aged 17, attended 25 times

=9) Female, aged 64, attended 25 times

=9) Male, aged 36, attended 25 times

14) Male, aged 50, attended 24 times

15) Male, aged 87, attended 23 times

=16) Female, aged 38, attended 22 times

=16) Female, aged 29, attended 22 times

=18) Male, aged 41, attended 21 times

=18) Male, aged 48, attended 21 times

20) Female, aged 56, attended 21 times