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Patients visit A&E ‘over 50 times’ per year


7 January 2014

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Repeat A&E visitors could be deterred by improved community care, healthcare leaders claim, following an investigation which revealed some patients visit A&E departments more than 50 times per year. 
Using Freedom of Information requests, the BBC found nearly 12,000 people visited the same unit more than ten times in 2012/13. 
And 150 of those attended the same A&E over 50 times. 

Repeat A&E visitors could be deterred by improved community care, healthcare leaders claim, following an investigation which revealed some patients visit A&E departments more than 50 times per year. 
Using Freedom of Information requests, the BBC found nearly 12,000 people visited the same unit more than ten times in 2012/13. 
And 150 of those attended the same A&E over 50 times. 
Dr Cliff Mann from the College of Emergency Medicine told the BBC that mental health problems, as well as drug and alcohol abuse could be to blame for the frequent visits. 
He said better care in the community – particularly social care – could prevent repeat visits. 
Dr Mann said: “At a time when emergency departments are very busy, it is clear that repeat non-emergency attendees are adding to the pressures. 
The BBC obtained data from 183 sites. Among the worst cases noted was a patient at Luton and Dunstable Hospital who attended 234 times in the year, while one person went to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield 223 times. 
NHS England pointed out that there were more than 21 million visits to A&E units last year. 
The spokesperson said: “The figures presented here suggest that the number of people attending A&E frequently is relatively small when considered against the big picture. 
“It is important that patients and the public know about and use the full range of health services in their local area. The NHS works hard to ensure people know where to go to get the best care and can use services appropriately.” 

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