It is big news at the minute that Northern Ireland’s A&E waiting times are the worst in the UK. In the latest Department of Health statistics one in four people seeking emergency care in Northern Ireland in December 2014 were kept waiting longer than the target of four hours to be seen. Over 13,000 patients were left waiting up to 12 hours, while over 90 waited more than 12 hours.
The government proposes that UK hospitals are meant to see 95% of patients within the four-hour timeframe. However in the latest data, just 76.7% of patients in Northern Ireland were seen within four hours in December 2014, which is well below waiting times in England where 90.2% of patients were seen within this time frame.
The Health Minister for Northern Ireland has been quoted as saying: “Far too many people are presenting themselves in emergency departments who shouldn’t be there.”
By using your local Physiotherapist instead of going directly to your local A&E would help address hospital medical staff shortages, free up doctors for more complex cases and cut the waiting times.
The below graphic shows what people are reporting to A&E Departments with:
According to this data 15.8% (Joint Injuries, Soft tissue inflammation, Contusions/abrasions, Muscle/tendon injuries) of people attending A&E could receive initial treatment and advice/guidance from their local Physiotherapist rather than attending A&E. What’s also interesting is that 37% of A&E attendance resulted in only ‘guidance or advice’ which Physiotherapists are qualified to provide for all the cases highlighted.
18.3m (1/5th) people attending casualty in 2012-13 had a musculoskeletal condition, which demonstrates the scale of savings that could be on offer to the health service with people attending Physiotherapist’s with the aforementioned conditions rather than A&E.
The benefits of using your local Physiotherapist could spread beyond patients with musculoskeletal conditions.
People aged 65+ are the fastest growing group of patients attending A&E. Physiotherapists can assess and manage this age group, including those who have fallen (or are at risk of falling), to avoid unnecessary admission into A&E. Things like exercise classes for this age group are particularly beneficial to improve balance and strength to reduce risk of falling.
If you’d like to speak with a qualified Chartered Physiotherapist, or make an appointment with us to have your problem checked out, please call us on 02892612907 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also offer a 10 minute free consultation where we can have a chat, take a look and let you know what we think.