Emergency care for older patients and other stories . . .

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5576 (Published 19 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5576

The secretary of state for health for England, Jeremy Hunt, recently spoke of older patients who are more familiar with the doctors in their local emergency department than with their own general practitioners. A good place to start looking for them, thought Minerva, would be in the Tower Hamlets district of London, with its high levels of deprivation and large immigrant communities. A survey in the Emergency Medicine Journal (2013, doi:10.1136/emermed-2013-202845) compared the ages of patients and reasons for attendance between emergency departments in that area and local general practices, out of hours clinics, or walk-in centres. In a random sample of 384 patients who presented to the emergency department, only eight were over the age of 75 years: the mean age was 35. Judging from case mix figures, use of the various emergency facilities seemed largely appropriate. Perhaps the health minister’s patients live elsewhere. The search must go on.

“I went to the doctor with …

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