One in six patients leave A&E hospitals in Liverpool before treatment is complete


Almost one in six people left the emergency department before treatment was completed at Liverpool’s main adult hospitals in the 12 months to March this year.

According to the latest data from NHS Digital, patients attending the emergency departments at Royal Liverpool Hospital and Aintree Hospital were more likely to leave before treatment was completed than patients at any other NHS hospital in the Liverpool area . Between April 1, 2021 and March 31 this year, 2,600 people left A&E at the two hospitals at some point before an initial assessment, before treatment began or before treatment was completed.

Accounting for 15% of emergency room visits to Liverpool University Hospitals, it is more than double the rate of 6.2% in England as a whole. Although the NHS trust has the highest median time – 135 minutes – from arrival at A&E to start of treatment of any NHS trust in the Liverpool City area, this is not a pattern seen in the same data for other trusts.

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A spokesperson for Liverpool University Hospitals, which runs the Royal and Aintree hospitals, highlighted other reasons people might leave A&E. These include recovering from symptoms or intoxication, being told about alternatives like walk-in centres, getting an appointment with the GP or being abusive to staff but to leave before he is fired.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “Our teams are working incredibly hard to treat people as quickly as possible and these figures demonstrate the significant level of demand our two emergency services are experiencing. People with serious medical emergencies will be always given priority for treatment and we would ask people with less urgent concerns to contact NHS 111 for advice on alternative services.”

The hospital trust with the second highest proportion of people leaving A&E before treatment is completed is Wirral University Hospital, which has an emergency department at Arrowe Park Hospital. Here, 10% of attendances leave before the end of treatment, slightly more than the 9% at St Helens and Knowsley University Hospitals and Warrington and Halton University Hospitals.

As at Liverpool University Hospitals, patients attending A&E at Arrowe Park Hospital with ‘minor injuries’ are advised to seek help from pharmacies and other healthcare providers after being ‘assessed by a clinician experienced when they arrived,” according to a spokesperson for Wirral University Hospitals. .

This includes referring people with ‘minor injuries and illnesses’ like rashes, burns and stomach aches to an emergency treatment centre, run by Wirral Community NHS Trust and located next to the ward. Arrowe Park emergency. Only 2% of people seeking emergency care from the Wirral Community NHS Trust leave before treatment is complete.

A spokesperson for Wirral University Hospitals said: “Over the past two months, [Arrowe Park Hospital] saw an increase in the number of patients attending the emergency department (ED) from 240 per day to 290 per day, and consistently stressed the need to keep the ED free for emergencies. The Trust invests in other measures through its new program Patient Experience Strategy and its £28 million investment in a new emergency department entrance, combining the emergency treatment center and emergency departments for an improved patient experience. »

In the Liverpool City area, only Bridgewater Community Healthcare has a higher rate of attendance leaving emergency departments before treatment is complete than Liverpool University Hospitals. According to data from NHS Digital, 23% of people left emergency care at this community and specialist service provider in St Helens, Halton and Warrington prematurely. But the trust is challenging the NHS Digital data with the team responsible for it, saying the way the data is reported does not reflect how the trust works.

Instead of running A&E departments like the Royal Liverpool, Aintree and Arrowe Park hospitals, Bridgewater operates an emergency treatment center in Widnes, as well as a telephone triage service, which directs patients to “the most secure department appropriate and the most covid”. The trust said this telephone triage service skews the numbers because it can take several attempts to call a patient back before they answer and the triage can be completed, but each failed attempt is recorded as a ‘no treatment’ scenario. .

A Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “The actual number of patients leaving our urgent care facility for the reported period of March 2022 is 186 (4.9%). This is significantly lower. to the reported figure. We are speaking to our colleagues at NHS Digital to let them know about this reported data issue and how this data will be reported in the future.”


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