Patient with long-term chronic conditions are visiting NHS hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments up to 100 times a year, a Conservative MP has said.
The NHS is "failing" people with conditions such as obesity and diabetes, as well as substance and alcohol abuse, and as result, 909,904 people were admitted to A&E more than once in the last year, according to Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood. 40,299 patients visited the department at least five times during the year, 34 attended more than 50 times and five patients were admitted more than 100 times, added Mr Skidmore, who is a member of the House of Commons Health Committee.
We need to find out who exactly are these "super-users" who are dominating NHS care, and focus on preventing their conditions, the Daily Mail newspaper has reported Mr Skidmore as stating.
"We must begin to look closer at who exactly is using the NHS rather than allowing its revolving door to continue turning," he said.
Meantime, latest figures from the NHS Information Centre show that, during 2010-11, 53.7% of unplanned attendances in English NHS hospitals' A&E departments, or 8.5 million, involved patients staying more than two hours in the department, compared to 50.6% (7.6 million) the year before.
The percentage of unplanned attendances where a patient spent longer than four hours also rose, from 4% (600,000) in 2009-10 to 5.6% (900,000) in 2010-11.
There were also 15.8 million unplanned attendances at A&E last year, up more than 700,000 on 2009-10 when the total was 15.1 million, while the total number of attendances (including those that were planned) rose from 15.6 million in 2009-10 to 16.2 million last year.
Also in 2010-11, 27.1% (4.4 million) of all A&E attendances had a recorded treatment of "guidance/advice only," while 57.4% (9.3 million) were discharged, with or without the requirement for GP follow-up, and 21.9% (3.6 million) were admitted into hospital.
However, the Centre also reports that hospitals in England have seen the annual number of emergency admissions for heart attacks among patients aged 35-74 drop by more than a quarter and the death rate nearly halve.
Emergency admissions fell from 42,400 in 2000-01 to 30,600 in 2009-10, and during the same period the death rate for within 30 days of an emergency admission for heart attacks almost halved, dropping from one in 11 to one in 20, it says.