Most emergency attendances at hospital are appropriate, finds studyBMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g3479 (Published 23 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3479
All rapid responses
As written by Wise, the College of Emergency Medicine recently announced the results of an analysis that examined the ‘appropriateness’ of visits to accident and emergency (A&E) departments in England. These results received much attention from the national media. Yet the full methods of the analysis have not been published.
The College have stated that the analysis was based on the records of ‘3,053 patients who visited twelve Emergency Departments (A&E’s) across the country over a 24 hour period’ and that the ‘A&E’s were representative in terms of geography, age and case mix.’ No additional information on the methods was provided in either the article  or press statement  that were released.
Consequently, the credibility of the results is unclear. The College of Emergency Medicine should now, retrospectively, publish the methods of the analysis in full. This publication should include, at the very least, the eligibility criteria of patients, the variables used to determine which setting a patient could have been managed in, and formal statistical tests of the sample’s representativeness.
1. Wise J. Most emergency attendances at hospital are appropriate, finds study. BMJ 2014;348:g3479. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g3479.
2. Triggle N. Most patients 'right to go to A&E'. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27512613.
3. The College of Emergency Medicine. Emergency Departments: More useful than the official data suggests. http://secure.collemergencymed.ac.uk/Public/Latest%20News/CEM%20Statements.
4. Mann C, Tempest M. Beyond the official data: a different picture of A&E attendances. http://www.hsj.co.uk/comment/beyond-the-official-data-a-different-pictur....
Competing interests: No competing interests