The proportion of avoidable attendances at UK emergency departments: an analysis of the RCEM Sentinel Site Survey

Crowding has been identified as a major issue in emergency medicine and avoidable attendances (AAs) are a factor to consider in crowding. Data from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s (RCEM) Sentinel Site Survey (SSS) was used to estimate the proportion of AAs in 12 Emergency Departments (EDs) on a standard day. Variability between departments in terms of performance, staffing and size was also assessed. Analysis of the SSS showed AAs constituted an average of 22.4% of total attendances. Younger age was shown to increase the likelihood of an AA. Variability in staffing needs to be addressed but may not have a significant effect on performance or AAs.