English A&E departments see the most attendances on a Monday morning – dealing with double the hourly average – new figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) suggest.

Departments across England collectively deal with about 4,000 cases per hour between 10am and 12 noon on a Monday compared to the typical hourly average of 2,000; according to new analysis for 2011-12.

The Monday peak also occurred in 2010-11 (3,700 arrivals per hour, compared to the typical hourly average of 1,900), according to today’s report: Accident and Emergency Attendances in England (experimental statistics) 2011/12.

While more attendances occur during the Monday peak, the attendee pattern within this period (such as by age, gender and region) is broadly the same as the pattern at other times.

Today’s report shows 17.6 million attendances were recorded in 2011-12 (compared to 16.2 million in 2010-11.) by major A&E departments, single specialty A&E departments, walk-in centres and minor injury units in England. This is is based on Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) A&E data, which while rich in detail, is incomplete when compared to A&E situation reports3. This means today’s 2011-12 analysis represents an estimated 80.5 per cent of all attendances (a larger proportion than the 74.0 per cent captured in 2010-11, which should be considered when interpreting the figures). Based on this data, the report shows that in 2011-12:

More than two in five attendances (43.4 per cent, or 7.7 million) involved a patient aged 29 or under; similar to 2010-11 (44.0 per cent, or 7.2 million). Just over half of all attendances were for men (50.5 per cent, or 8.9 million) This is similar to 2010-11 (51.2 per cent, or 8.3 million) Departments within London Strategic Health Authority (SHA) area dealt with the most attendances of any of England’s 10 SHA areas at 3.6 million. This similar to the previous year (3.3 million) and is likely to reflect population size.

The report also shows that in 2011-12:

64.7 per cent (11.4 million) of referrals to A&E were self-referrals; 10 per cent (1.8 million) were via the emergency services and 5.1 per cent (900,200) were from a GP. Much smaller proportions were from other areas, such as work (0.5 per cent or 95,300) and Social Services (0.1 per cent, or 15,400). These percentages are very similar to 2010-11. 20.7 per cent (3.7 million) of attendances saw the patient admitted to hospital, 38.8 per cent (6.8 million) saw the patient discharged from the department with no follow-up required, and 2.8 per cent (499,100) left the department before treatment.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “It is well-known of course that accident and emergency departments are very busy places; but the extent of this activity can be seen in a different way by presenting how attendances relate to hours and days.

“The fact that A&E services in England on average see twice the average number of new cases coming through the door collectively on a typical Monday morning indicates just how much society relies on these front line services.

“Today’s report also goes beyond attendance numbers to present more detailed facts and figures on how patients end up in A&E, what happens to them within the department and how they are dealt with on discharge. This information will be of interest not just to the health service and government but to the public as a whole.”

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