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Funding reforms and emergency admissions
  1. Geoffrey Hughes
  1. Correspondence to Professor Geoffrey Hughes, Emergency Department, Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace, Adelaide 5000, Australia; cchdhb{at}

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The Nuffield Trust for Research and Policy Studies in Health Services is an independent health policy charitable trust in the UK, whose mission is to promote independent analysis and informed debate on UK healthcare policy. In July of this year it published a 12-page briefing paper; the title ‘Trends in emergency admissions in England 2004–2009: is greater efficiency breeding inefficiency?’ is self-explanatory. The timing of its release is intriguing, being a couple of weeks before the new Minister of Health announced major changes of funding and commissioning processes, said to be the biggest NHS reform in 60 years.

Key points from the Nuffield report include:

  • The number of emergency admissions in England rose by 11.8% between 2004/5 and 2008/9—approximately 1.35 million extra admissions.

  • At most, 40% of this increase is explained by population ageing.

  • The increase is not associated with any one particular type of illness or age group and levels of self-reported ill health do not appear to be rising. It is associated with a large rise in short-stay …

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  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.