Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

More children admitted to hospital as emergencies


Hospital staff have been treating more children admitted as emergencies each year for a decade, a report has shown.

The biggest increases have been in emergency admissions of children and babies under the age of five, according to a study which has been published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The researchers claim many of the extra admissions are for common infections, signalling that not enough is being done to assess and treat poorly children in the community through GPs, walk in clinics and out-of-hours services as well as the nurse-staffed telephone helpline NHS Direct.

The report shows that emergency admissions for children under the age of 15 increased by 28% from 1999 to 2010 in England. In 1999 the rate of emergency admissions was 63 per 1,000 under-15s, while in 2010 this had risen to 81 per 1,000.

Over this period the number of babies under the age of one admitted to hospital as an emergency increased by 52% while emergency admissions for youngsters aged one to four rose by 25%. By 2010 almost seven out of 10 emergency admissions at English hospitals involved under-fives and the report claims rates for this age group has gone up by about 3% each year.

And if rates continue to increase by a similar amount, it is predicted that 731,000 children under the age of five will be admitted to hospital in an emergency situation in 2020 - 230,000 more than now.

The report’s authors say there have also been substantial increases in other age groups too.

However many emergency admissions were for a short period of time with the amount lasting less than a day more than doubling from 18 per 1,000 in 1999 to 37 per 1,000 in 2010. The authors attributed this to many of the admissions being unnecessary as they were due to common illnesses which could have been treated at home or by visiting a GP.











Readers' comments (2)

  • Parents are becoming increasingly aggressive when seeking care/treatment for a sick child.

    Many will not not believe their child has a simple.self limiting condition.

    Much of this problem can be directly related to the loss of OOH GP services. Parents have no confidence or trust in the walk in centres or other so called OOH "replacement" services.

    As a result Parents will challenge the findings of Drs they do not know and have not previously met.

    Very often the only means of satisfying parents is to admit a child and undertake an often unnecessary septic screen

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Jenny Jones | 13-Feb-2013 8:02 am

    hardly surprising if you have no idea how competent the doctor is. many cases are overlooked with tragic consequences.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.