The ongoing A&E crisis has shifted attention on to GPs. We are being blamed for being less accessible (with appointments hard to get or surgeries not being open for long enough), while A&E is open 24/7 and therefore faces unchecked demand.
But this makes little sense. You only need to take a walk through an A&E department to see why: long trolley queues in corridors and acute admission units exist because of cuts in bed numbers and delayed discharges from a shortfall in social care. These are not patients who can be seen in GP surgeries and sent home on a prescription.
Last year there were about 23m A&E attendances in England of which 65% were at major A&E departments – an increase of 2.2% when compared to 2014-15.Although the number of patients attending A&E is continuing to rise (an average of 1,400 more per day than last year), as a percentage of total hospital patients, admission rates were roughly the same last year (20.2%) as in 2009-10 (21.8%).
Full story in The Guardian, 21 February 2017