Almost half of A&E visits were preventable, research claims

Wigan Accident and Emergency department
Wigan Accident and Emergency department

FOUR out of 10 visits to accident and emergency units across the country could have been prevented, according to a new study.

Earlier this year Wigan Infirmary bosses urged residents to avoid the A&E unless in the most severe cases to ease pressure during a national waiting times crisis.

The study, by Opinium Research, found that the government’s 7-day GP service policy was supported by just 26 per cent of those polled.

It could also “ramp up” more pressure on already strained emergency departments, the report adds.

James Sweatman, at Opinium Research, said: “Our study suggests that a significant proportion of the pressures placed on A&E units across the UK are avoidable.

“Younger generations, who are used to on-demand services, fast outcomes and convenience in other parts of their lives, are opting to bypass the GP appointment queue and head straight to hospital departments instead.

“With GP referrals one of the biggest drivers of visits to A&E, introducing a seven-day GP service could further ramp up the pressure on Emergency Departments across the country. Instead, our results show that there is a significant opportunity to better use technology to deliver digital health services.

“This could not only drive efficiencies across the health system, but also deliver faster and improved outcomes for patients.”