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“2020health is an important and thoughtful contributor to the health debate”

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee

 
 

The Guardian Today in Healthcare: Report from the UK's emergency doctors

The chief executive of thinktank 2020health has called for fines for people who "abuse the system" by turning up at A&E drunk. Commenting on reports that A&E attendances have risen by 50% in a decade, Julia Manning said that during the week, about 30% of attendance is due to people being drunk, and at weekends this can rise to 70%. She added:

"It’s essential we focus on the causes of rising attendance, not simply think that a sticking plaster of money and staff is the solution.

The causes include poor patient and practice management by GPs, an increase in complex elderly patients, unresponsive social services and people who get drunk.

Pro-active GPs have shown that if they evaluate their patient calls in the morning, then the majority of patients can have their needs met without even going to see the GP. Some have employed community based doctors who can make home visits quickly to sort out patients problems before they become an emergency. Other GPs have examined their patient records and worked out which patients need extra management to help reduce the chances of a crisis in the future.

In all cases A&E attendance has dropped dramatically."