Understanding demand for emergency care using regional routine data from emergency department and acute hospital admissions
Project led by Professor Suzanne Mason at University of Sheffield, coordinated and supported by Health Data Research UK with funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).
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In recent months there has been a large increase in waiting times for emergency care across the country. The exact reasons why this is happening are unclear, but in order to solve the problem it is vital to understand the demand and where it is coming from. This study will look at two key areas that are experiencing strain at the moment.
Firstly, it will examine anonymised routine data from NHS Emergency Departments (ED) across the country. Researchers will look at the patterns of patients attending the ED, who they are, what medical complaints they arrive with and what happens to them.
Secondly, the study will examine emergency admissions to hospital to understand who is being admitted to hospital and what happens to them. The team will use existing codes to identify patients being admitted with conditions that could be treated in the community (called Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions). The aim is to explore ED attendance and hospital admission between different regions, and at different times of the year, to understand greater pressures on emergency care in the winter. This will enable clinicians to identify groups of patients where a different pathway of care might improve their experiences and recovery, and for decision makers to plan health services that meet the needs of the population in a more efficient and effective way.