Health and social care services JSNA

Urgent and emergency care

In 2017 there were 27,500 emergency admissions in Rochdale Borough (Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Integrated Care System (ICS)) with the majority of these coming from the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.

What is the emergency care system?

The emergency and urgent care services include A&E units, urgent care centres, walk-in centres and minor injuries clinics. In addition to these, the ambulance service, NHS 111 helpline, crisis response teams, GPs and pharmacies also play a part in the emergency care system.

Reasons for accessing these services include:

  • Advice or treatment for relatively minor illnesses
  • Help with pre-existing long term health problems
  • Treatment for a serious illness
  • Major events or injuries which require access to highly-skilled, specialist care

Issues in the emergency care system

The demands being placed on urgent and emergency care services have been growing. The most common reasons given for this are an ageing population with increasingly complex needs and the confusion caused by the structure of the system that leads people to default to A&E.

Public trust in the A&E brand means that it is largely a victim of its own success. The emergency and urgent care system should provide a highly responsive service that delivers care as close to home as possible. With serious or life-threatening emergency conditions being treated in centres with the very best expertise and facilities.

Statistics on emergency and urgent care

  • NHS Digital - the NHS Digital website publishes a range of statistics on hospital activity including an ICS outcomes dataset and hospital admitted patient care activity.

Guidance and information on emergency and urgent care

  • NHS England Publications - the NHS England website includes reports, guidance, policy and strategy documents and case studies on a number of topics including urgent and emergency care.
  • The King's Fund (emergency care) - the King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. The site includes blogs, reports, articles and signposts for useful events. This page collates their work on emergency care.
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance - Emergency care - NICE has produced a number of documents on emergency care including guidance on emergency and acute medical care in over 16s and assessment and referral of anaphylaxis patients.