Accident and emergency departments in England see the most attendances on a Monday morning – dealing with double the hourly average.
A&E departments 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 analysis of data for 2011-12 by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
The Monday peak also occurred in 2010-11 – 3,700 arrivals per hour, compared to the typical hourly average of 1,900 – the HSCIC said.
While more attendances occur during the Monday peak, the attendee pattern within this period – age, gender and region – was broadly the same as the pattern at other times, the analysis found.
Overall 17.6 million attendances were recorded in 2011-12, compared to 16.2 million in 2010-11, major A&E departments, single specialty A&E departments, walk-in centres and minor injury units.
Nearly 45%, or 7.7 million, involved a patient aged 29 or under, and just over half of all attendances were for men.
Mark Newbold, chair of the NHS Confederation’s hospitals forum, said: “We know demand for urgent and emergency care services is rising, year on year, but a two-fold increase in A&E attendance on a Monday morning is a clear sign of a system not working at its best.”
Dr Newbold added: “Urgent illness, trauma and accidents don’t take a break over weekends and bank holidays, nor do they respect a 9-5 working day. It is essential that we look at all options for urgent and emergency care, and how it joins up with community and primary care, so patients know their health service will respond appropriately no matter what time they need care.”
A national review of how A&E and urgent care services are organised in England was announced last week by the NHS Commissioning Board.