RATES of emergency admission in Stafford are twice that of any other area in the country and growing at nearly triple the rate causing a significant drain on finances in the region, it is claimed.
Chief officer of Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Andy Donald told the Newsletter that the most recent national benchmarking data supplied by the NHS Information Centre showed that for every 1,000 res- idents in the CCG’s catchment there were 117 non-elective (emergency) admissions in 2011.
That compares to a national average across all CCGs of 100 admissions and an average rate of admissions across CCGs with comparable demographics to Stafford and surrounds of 111.
“If an emergency admission costs around £2,500 and we are double the number of emergency admissions to hospital of any other CCG, that is a significant amount of money that could have been used, one, to keep people out of hospital and two, to pay for other services,” said Mr Donald. “Those emergency admissions are very expensive.”
The benchmarking data also shows the growth rate for those emergency admissions as significantly higher, with the rate growing by an annualised 4.8 per cent between 2007/8 and 2011, compared to just 1.8 per cent for comparable CCGs and 1.2 per cent nationally.
Mr Donald said: “There are some external factors in that, are community services in place to avoid those admissions? I think there’s some challenges around that.
“When people go into A&E are there enough senior clinical decision makers on the shop floor to stop people being admitted? Are we a bit risk averse in Stafford, because of what’s happened here in the past?
Chris Holt, chief operating officer, said: Following the overnight closure of A&E in December 2011, we now see in 14 hours the same number of major cases that we did in a 24-hour period prior to the closure.
"These are patients who typically arrive by ambulance and have a greater likelihood of requiring admission.
"There has also been a continual increase in demand on attendances and admissions, with a 3.2 per cent increase over the last nine to 12 months alone.”