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Emergency admissions for typical primary care conditions drop

Asthma admissions rise sharply from August to September

Adrian O'Dowd

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The number of emergency admissions for conditions that are normally dealt with by GPs has fallen slightly in the past year.

Figures published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that for June 2013 to May 2014, there were 435,270 emergency admissions for eleven conditions classed as ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC) – a fall of 2.7% compared to the same period in 2012-13 (447,510).

The HSCIC has focused on ACSC, which are chronic conditions that are usually manageable in primary care without hospitalisation and which include angina, asthma, artrial fibrillation, anaemia, congestive heart failure, COPD, dementia, diabetes, hypertension, infections and neurological conditions.

The analysis showed that emergency admissions for asthma were lowest in August but increased considerably in September – a seasonal pattern that has continued since 2006-07.

The HSCIC’s monthly provisional Hospital Episode Statistics publication says in the 12 months to May of this year, one in nine emergency admissions for asthma were in September (5,980 out of 54,300) and one in 20 were in August (2,530).

This seasonal trend has been consistent for the past eight years where in 2006-07, hospitals in England recorded 62,670 asthma emergency admissions, one in 11 in September (9.4% or 5,900) and one in 18 in August (5.6% or 3,520).

Children accounted for the largest proportion of asthma emergency admissions where 37.8% or 20,510 out of 54,300 were under 15 years old.

One in six emergency admissions for asthma were under five years of age (15.6% or 8,450), which accounted for almost two thirds (64.7%) of all ACSC admissions for this age group.

The data for June 2013 to May 2014 also shows about eight in ten ACSC cases were for either cardiovascular disease (41% or 178,770) or respiratory disease (38% or 164,860).

There were marked seasonal differences in admissions for COPD, which were highest in December (11% or 11,810 out of 110,560) and lowest in August (6.3% or 7,020).

For angina, 61% or 36,390 out of 59,340 emergency admissions were male and for anaemia, 63% or 8,650 out of 13,690 were female.

HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: “Today's report provides new focus on conditions that are usually manageable via primary care services but for some reason required hospitalisation.

“The figures show seasonal trends for asthma and COPD emergency admissions. The gender and age differences pointed out in today's report offer insight into those hospitalised for a particular ACSC.”

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