Avoiding hospital admissions: what does the research evidence say?

Emergency admissions represent around 65 per cent of hospital bed days in England. It is a major concern for the NHS, yet despite considerable efforts to reduce emergency admissions, only a minority of PCTs succeeded in doing so between 2007 and 2009.

The research led by Sarah Purdy, Consultant Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, addresses the following key questions:

  • What interventions work to reducing avoidable admissions?
  • Who is at risk and how do we identify them?
  • Which admissions are potentially avoidable?
  • And which interventions work in primary, secondary and emergency care as well as discharge from hospital?

The review of available research evidence identified interventions where there is evidence of positive effect on both admissions and re-admissions, those where there is evidence that the intervention has no beneficial effect, and a range of interventions where more evidence is needed to determine whether they have the potential to reduce admissions.

The paper concludes that policy-makers, providers and commissioners can introduce a number of changes that have proved to be effective in reducing admissions and includes recommendations for all of these groups, emphasising the importance of using evidence-based interventions.

This publication is free to download  from The King’s Fund website.

Please contact Sarah Purdy for further information.