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Emergency cases 'are overheating the NHS'

5th July 2010

England's healthcare system is facing an 'unsustainable' increase in emergency hospital admissions, new independent research has claimed.

A report from the Nuffield Trust found the number of emergency admissions to English hospitals jumped by 11.8 per cent between 2004/05 and 2008/09.

The study suggested that the extra 13.5 million admissions cost the NHS around GBP 330 million per year. It also revealed that emergency cases now make up 35 per cent of admissions in the country and swallow up GBP 11 billion of the NHS annual budget.

Nuffield Trust director Dr Jennifer Dixon said that reducing emergency admissions has to become the NHS' 'number one priority' and claimed any reform of England's healthcare system will fail unless this issue is addressed.

'Our hospitals are overheating and are on an unsustainable path in which they are treating patients at great cost to the NHS and to patients themselves,' she added.

Last month, British Medical Association chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum used his speech at the group's annual conference to call on the government to protect the NHS from drastic spending cuts.

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