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New report sheds light on A&E attendances in England

28 January 2016: New analysis of more than 19 million Accident and Emergency (A&E) attendances (2) in England has been published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

Regional data are available

The report covers attendances recorded by major A&E departments, single specialty A&E departments, walk-in centres and minor injury units in 2014/153

The Hospital Episode Statistics Accident and Emergency Attendances in England 2014/15 report shows, of the 19.6 million attendances recorded:

  • Over a third (6.9 million) had a recorded treatment of 'guidance/advice only'.
  • One in five (4.0 million) resulted in an admission to hospital.
  • 57.7 per cent (11.3 million) of attendances were discharged with either a GP follow-up or no follow-up required.

The number of recorded attendances at major A&E departments ('Type 1')3 in England has increased by 2.2 per cent from 14.3 million4 in 2013/14 to 14.6 million in 2014/15.

The report also shows that for all the recorded A&E attendances nationally in 2014/15:

  • Nearly one in four patients (4.5 million) arrived by ambulance or helicopter.
  • Monday continued to be the most popular day for A&E attendances, with 15.8 per cent of all attendances (3.1 million); there was a fairly even spread of attendances across all other days of the week5. The busiest hour of arrival on a Monday was 10am with 230,200 attendances (1.2 per cent of all A&E attendances).
  • June and July were the busiest months for attendances with 57,100 and 56,400 per day recorded in the data respectively. January was the least busy month with 48,800 attendances recorded per day.
  • Over half (53.7 per cent) of attendances were for patients under 40. Patients aged 20-29 accounted for 15.9 per cent, while 14.4 per cent of all attendances were for those under 10.

Responsible statistician Jane Winter said:

"The report highlights the times, days and months these services have been used over the last year. The fact that over a third of admissions had a recorded treatment of 'guidance/advice only' doesn't necessarily mean a wasted A&E attendance."

Read the report here:


Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 260 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.
  2. Within the HES A&E data set, data are incomplete; there are 19.3 million attendances reported in HES A&E (excluding planned follow-up attendances), compared to 22.4 million reported in NHS England's A&E Situation Reports (Sit Reps) aggregate data for the equivalent period.
  3. Type 1 A&E department (Major A&E)
    A consultant led 24 hour service with full resuscitation facilities and designated accommodation for the reception of accident and emergency patients
    Type 2 A&E department (Single Specialty)
    A consultant led single specialty accident and emergency service (e.g. ophthalmology, dental) with designated accommodation for the reception of patients
    Type 3 A&E department (Other A&E / Minor Injury Unit)
    Other type of A&E/minor injury units (MIUs)/Walk-in Centres (WiCs), primarily designed for the receiving of accident and emergency patients. A type 3 department may be doctor led or nurse led. It may be co-located with a major A&E or sited in the community. A defining characteristic of a service qualifying as a type 3 department is that it treats at least minor injuries and illnesses (sprains for example) and can be routinely accessed without appointment. An appointment based service (for example an outpatient clinic) or one mainly or entirely accessed via telephone or other referral (for example most out of hours services), or a dedicated primary care service (such as GP practice or GP-led health centre) is not a type 3 A&E service even though it may treat a number of patients with minor illness or injury.
  4. Excludes planned follow-up attendances
  5. Spread of the number of A&E attendances per day:
    Monday 3,084,000
    Tuesday 2,840,700
    Wednesday 2,721,700
    Thursday 2,701,700
    Friday 2,697,300
    Saturday 2,722,500
    Sunday 2,789,000
  6. Figures over 1 million have been rounded to the nearest 100,000, figures over 10,000 have been rounded to the nearest 100, and figures under 10,000 have been rounded to the nearest 10. Percentages have been rounded to one decimal point.
  7. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 30 33 888.
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