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Patients admitted to hospital to beat A&E waiting time targets

By Laura Montini

The number of patients admitted to hospital from A&E peaks in the last ten minutes before the Government's four-hour waiting time target, new figures from the Information Centre show.

An analysis published today shows that more A&E patients are dealt with in the last ten minutes of their four hour wait than at any other time. The number of patients leaving the A&E department per minute increases as time spent approaches 4 hours, and 6 per cent of patients complete their visit within the last 10 minutes.

The figures are based on the 2007/2008 Hospital Episode Statistics dataset, a study of English patients' time spent in A&E and their destinations on leaving the department.

As time spent increases, the percentage of patients admitted to a hospital bed increases while the percentage discharged with no follow-up falls, the findings reveal.

The percentage of patients leaving A&E who are admitted to hospital peaks in the last ten minutes before then four-hour deadline, when 66 percent are admitted compared to 21 percent overall.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of patients are dealt with in with 3 hours, and nearly all (96%) are dealt with in the four hours.

Hospital admissions from A&E peak in the ten minutes before the Government's four-hour waiting time target is reached Hospital admissions from A&E peak in the ten minutes before the Government's four-hour waiting time target is reached

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