April to June is consistently the busiest time of year for A&E wards – not winter, according to a new report into accident and emergency services in England.
In findings that debunk a number of “myths” surrounding about Britain’s A&E crisis, the Health and Social Care Information Centre also highlighted the fact that the number of young adults attending casualty wards is greater than the number of over 70s.
So while there has been a “subtle shift” towards more older people using type 1, or major A&E units, overall the 18-28 age group still represent 18 per cent of attendances at all A&E units, compared to the over 70s, who represent 14 per cent.
Meanwhile, the number of patients attending A&E in the poorest 10 per cent of areas is twice the number in the richest, the figures show.
Overall the number of attendances at type 1 A&E units have risen only slightly above the rate of population increase. This compares to attendances at minor units, which have risen at 11 times the rate of population increase over the time period 2004/05 to 2012/13.
Asked whether changes to GP contracts in 2004 - which enabled GPs to opt out of providing out-of-hours care - had had an impact on A&E attendances, as previously claimed by the Government, chair of the HSCIC Kingsley Manning said there was "no obvious relationship".