Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Trends in paediatric medical admissions.

British Medical Journal 1989; 298 doi: (Published 03 June 1989) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1989;298:1479
  1. A. M. Hill
  1. Department of Community Medicine, Milton Keynes General Hospital.


    In the Oxford region from 1975 to 1985 the rate of discharge from paediatric departments, when standardised for age, rose by 88%. This increase was studied by using routinely collected data. It occurred in all age groups and was due mainly to an increase in emergency admissions for acute common childhood illnesses, particularly respiratory and gastro-intestinal diseases. There was no evidence that increasing morbidity accounted for this rise; the change was due to factors in medical care. Over the 11 years the median length of stay fell from 2.4 to 1.5 days and by 1985 40% of children were discharged within a day after admission. The increase in admissions was due to lower thresholds for admission resulting in part from the increased availability of beds because of the diminishing lengths of stay.