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CQC reveals extent of avoidable admissions

One in ten hospital admissions of patients over the age of 75 in the UK last year was ‘potentially avoidable’, according to the CQC.

The regulator’s ‘fourth annual State of Care’ report found there were 530,000 ‘avoidable admissions’ of patients over the age of 65 in 2012/13, 396,000 of which were for over 75s.

The findings come a week after the Government and GPC announced the establishment of a new avoidable admissions enhanced service in England as part of their 2014/15 contract negotiations, which will see GPs playing a greater role in limiting avoidable admissions by liasing with emergency providers and patients over the phone.

The CQC’s report found ‘significant regional variations’ in numbers of elderly people admitted with avoidable conditions, with the highest rates found in north east England.

South west England had the lowest rates, and the report identified that areas with a ‘higher proportion’ of older people were likely to have fewer ‘avoidable’ admissions as a result of increased awareness of their needs, and more developed systems for avoiding admissions among primary and community care services.

David Behan, chief executive of the CQC, said: ‘Those responsible for care in local areas need to work together quickly to address the number of avoidable emergency admissions to hospital.’

‘GPs, care homes, home care agencies, community health services and hospitals, with local commissioners, must plan effectively to make sure our older and more vulnerable people are cared for in the way they deserve… Where care can be provided for people outside of hospitals, it is better for them and eases pressures on hospital services.’

As part of the DES, GPs will ‘proactively case manage’ all patients at risk of unplanned admissions - and not just patients over the age of 75 - by acting as a named GP to coordinate their care.

This will be worth around £160m in funding overall, and is designed to relieve the burden on A&E services from increasing numbers of elderly patients and those with complex care needs.