NHS to rank top 20 GP practices in Northamptonshire for sending people to A&E

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GP practices in Northamptonshire are to be ranked for numbers of frequent A&E patients.

NHS Nene said the the ‘bottom’ 10 practices in the south of the county, along with the same number in the north, will be given special help, in order to help keep patients out of hospital.

An NHS Nene spokesman said: “Practices are to be asked to review their most frequent A&E attendees, to review the reasons for their admissions and what the GP’s advice might be to help with that admission.”

Although they create needless expense, A&E ‘frequent flyers’ do not actually cause a significant increase in the pressure on A&E departments.

Rather, the effect is more personal in that busy emergency departments are usually not the most effective way for them to get care.

UK-wide research by the BBC for 2012/13 found that about 12,000 people made more than 10 A&E visits and a small number of those attended more than 50 times.

Analysis by the Health Service Journal founds that people attending A&E more than 10 times in one year are typically between 20 and 55 years old. Fortysomethings are particularly over represented compared with all users of A&E.

Half of regular attenders live in the 20 per cent most deprived areas, but 10 per cent lived in rich areas.

Many regular attenders have combinations of mental health, substance misuse and social care issues.

Once the 20 practices in Northamptonshire are identified, particularly frequent A&E patients are now to be to be reviewed to assess whether personal budgets might improve their long term health.

An NHS Nene spokesman said: “With high intensity or frequency users, we can provide focussed support into those practices, managing those patients pro-actively.”