Increase in emergency admissions caused by improved hospital survival rates

October 9, 2017 by George Wigmore, City University London
Credit: Yorkman/Shutterstock

Remarkable improvements in the survival rates of patients with acute conditions, including heart attacks and strokes, are driving the increase in emergency admissions to NHS hospitals, according to researchers from City, University of London, Imperial College London, University of York and University of Palermo.

The study, which is published in the journal of Health Services Research, found that 37 per cent of the increase in and their cost can be explained by the success of hospitals in saving the lives of patients with acute life threatening conditions.

The researchers recommend that increased support for those with acute conditions after their first may be an effective way to reduce A&E demand in the future and ease the strain on struggling NHS hospitals. The research is the first to look at the impact of survival rates on future care.

To determine the impact of survival rates on admissions, the study looked at a large dataset including ten million patients with a first admission for an acute event, such as a heart attack or a stroke, between April 2000 and March 2010. They then followed these patients for up to two years from the first admission until 2012, counting the times they were back for an emergency admission for any reason and to any hospital.

The survival effect led to an estimated increase of 426,000 emergency admissions in 2012, remaining at this higher level thereafter, costing NHS hospital services around £1 billion every year. This estimate does not include the effect of further improvements in survival which are likely to have occurred after 2009. The research was funded by The Health Foundation.

Dr Mauro Laudicella, Senior Lecturer in Health Economics in the School of Health Sciences at City, University of London, said:

"The services of the NHS and many other health systems are coming under great strain, and our research has shown that a significant factor in this rise in emergency admissions is due to the improvement in survival rates at hospitals. This has led to a greater number of people being admitted for unplanned, emergency care for subsequent admissions in the following 1 to 2 years.

"Our findings have important policy implications, as they show that the assumption that can directly control their flow of emergency admissions may be in part flawed. Indeed, current policies may generate unwanted consequences for the health system, by draining funding from high-performing hospitals that are particularly successful in saving their patients' lives.

"As hospitals continue to improve their performance in survival rates, discharged patients may become increasingly frail and at high risk of accessing emergency care in the future. Therefore, the effect that we found is likely to be magnified in future years, especially for better performing hospitals with the highest . As a result, managing and supporting the conditions of these after their hospital discharge could be key to reducing demand for emergency services in the future."

Explore further: Adults with intellectual disabilities are at high risk of preventable emergency admissions

Related Stories

Adults with intellectual disabilities are at high risk of preventable emergency admissions

September 12, 2017
Adults with intellectual disabilities have more than twice as many emergency hospital admissions and five times more preventable emergency admissions than other comparable individuals.

US opioid epidemic reaches new level of crisis in overdoses, hospitalizations and cost

August 28, 2017
A new study of the growing United States opioid epidemic reveals that deaths from overdoses have nearly doubled over the past seven years, while increasing acute care costs and hospitalizations are taxing health care systems.

Mortality rates for emergency surgical admissions vary widely among hospitals in England

July 17, 2013
A new study reveals significant hospital-to-hospital variability in patient death rates following emergency surgical admissions in England. Published early online in the BJS (British Journal of Surgery), the study also found ...

Hospital admissions rising for elderly patients with Parkinson's disease

November 15, 2016
Although treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD) is significantly extending the lives of patients, these patients are now being admitted to hospitals at increasing rates. In a study reported in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, ...

Dip in emergency hospital admissions via GPs while figures soar for A&E

November 8, 2014
The number of emergency admissions to hospital via A&E departments increased markedly in England from 2001/02 to 2010/11, while the number via GPs decreased, according to analysis published today in the Journal of the Royal ...

Changes to NHS policy unlikely to reduce emergency hospital admissions

January 29, 2016
Recent changes to UK healthcare policy intended to reduce the number of emergency hospital admissions are unlikely to be effective, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.

Recommended for you

A low-gluten, high-fiber diet may be healthier than gluten-free

November 16, 2018
When healthy people eat a low-gluten and fibre-rich diet compared with a high-gluten diet, they experience less intestinal discomfort including less bloating. Researchers at University of Copenhagen show that this is due ...

Youth dating violence shaped by parents' conflict-handling views, study finds

November 16, 2018
Parents who talk to their children about nonviolent ways of resolving conflict may reduce children's likelihood of physically or psychologically abusing their dating partners later—even when parents give contradictory messages ...

Why we shouldn't like coffee, but we do

November 15, 2018
Why do we like the bitter taste of coffee? Bitterness evolved as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances. By evolutionary logic, we should want to spit it out.

Dietary fat is good? Dietary fat is bad? Coming to consensus

November 15, 2018
Which is better, a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet or a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet—or is it the type of fat that matters? In a new paper featured on the cover of Science magazine's special issue on nutrition, researchers ...

Low-carb diets cause people to burn more calories

November 14, 2018
Most people regain the weight they lose from dieting within one or two years, in part because the body adapts by slowing metabolism and burning fewer calories. A meticulous study led by Boston Children's Hospital, in partnership ...

Colder, darker climates increase alcohol consumption and liver disease

November 14, 2018
Where you live could influence how much you drink. According to new research from the University of Pittsburgh Division of Gastroenterology, people living in colder regions with less sunlight drink more alcohol than their ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.