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Rise in emergency hospital admissions over Christmas

Emergency admissions rose over the Christmas period compared with last year, in a development NHS England bosses identified as a ‘significant concern’.

Figures published by NHS England today reveal that there were 3,266 more emergency admissions from the 16 to the 29 December, compared with the same period last year.

But the number of A&E attendances for the same period were down on the same period in 2012 – 780,597 people compared to 823,295.

And the percentage of patients treated, admitted or discharged within the four-hour standard remained above the 95% target – 95.5% and 96.4% in the first and second weeks respectively – whereas last year this dropped to 94.3% in the week before Christmas.

Dr Barbara Hakin, the deputy chief executive for NHS England said the rise in emergency admissions was the area of ‘most significant concern’.

She said: ‘Rising emergency admissions continue to be the most significant concern. This Christmas they were higher than last Christmas, in line with the emerging trend which has seen a 31% rise in the number of people needing emergency admission to hospital over the last ten years.’

But she added that in the main she was ‘pleased to report the NHS delivered an excellent service over the Christmas and New Year period.’

In November last year the Government pumped £150m into hospitals to be used to help support A&E departments to manage winter pressures.