Official figures for 2019-20, released by NHS England and NHS Improvement, indicate that those living in more deprived areas are twice as likely to attend Accident and Emergency departments as those living in less deprived areas.
Comparing the statistics for those living at the most extreme ends of the deprivation scale – the 10% who are most deprived and the 10% least deprived, reveals A&E attendances of 3.1 million and 1.6 million, respectively.
Despite making up only around 20% of the population, those living in England’s most deprived locations accounted for a startling 27% of the 5.9 million A&E attendances in the 2019-20 period, according to the figures released last week.
The information has been released in a report by NHS Improvement and NHS England, using information from NHS Digital’s Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), and previously published data from NHS England and NHS Improvement’s A&E Attendance and Accident and Emergency Admissions Monthly Situation Reports.
It indicated an increase of 1% in overall attendances in A&E departments between 2019-20, compared to the same period for 2018-19, and found that 84% of patients waited 4 hours or less to be seen on arrival. The 16% of attendees arriving in the hour after 8am spent the least amount of time waiting to be seen, averaging just one hour or less.
16% of all patients arrived in A&E on Mondays, with the majority of these arriving between 10am and midday. Just 2.3% of patients attending A&E on any day spent more than 12 hours in the department, and only 8.7% of attendees had to return within 7 days, equivalent to 1.95 million patients.
The figures have come at a time when infection rates of coronavirus across the UK appear to be rising, amid concerns over how the situation will progress now that children have returned to school. A report from the Office for National Statistics, indicates that those in the most deprived parts of England have recorded more than double the deaths from coronavirus per 100,000 than the least deprived.
With this in mind, it is some comfort to know that the report confirms attendances dipped from March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold across the UK.
To see the report in full detail, visit the NHS website.