Impact of emergency care centralisation on mortality and efficiency: a retrospective service evaluation

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OBJECTIVE: Evidence favours centralisation of emergency care for specific conditions, but it remains unclear whether broader implementation improves outcomes and efficiency. Routine healthcare data examined consolidation of three district general hospitals with mixed medical admission units (MAU) into a single high-volume site directing patients from the ED to specialty wards with consultant presence from 08:00 to 20:00.

METHODS: Consecutive unscheduled adult index admissions from matching postcode areas were identified retrospectively in Hospital Episode Statistics over a 3-year period: precentralisation baseline (from 16 June 2014 to 15 June 2015; n=18 586), year 1 postcentralisation (from 16 June 2015 to 15 June 2016; n=16 126) and year 2 postcentralisation (from 16 June 2016 to 15 June 2017; n=17 727). Logistic regression including key demographic covariates compared baseline with year 1 and year 2 probabilities of mortality and daily discharge until day 60 after admission and readmission within 60 days of discharge.

RESULTS: Relative to baseline, admission postcentralisation was associated with favourable OR (95% CI) for day 60 mortality (year 1: 0.95 (0.88 to 1.02), p=0.18; year 2: 0.94 (0.91 to 0.97), p<0.01), mainly among patients aged 80+ years (year 1: 0.88 (0.79 to 0.97); year 2: 0.91 (0.87 to 0.96)). The probability of being discharged alive on any day since admission increased (year 1: 1.07 (1.04 to 1.10), p<0.01; year 2: 1.04 (1.02 to 1.05), p<0.01) and the risk of readmission decreased (year 1: 0.90 (0.87 to 0.94), p<0.01; year 2: 0.92 (0.90 to 0.94), p<0.01).

CONCLUSION: A centralised site providing early specialist care was associated with improved short-term outcomes and efficiency relative to lower volume ED admitting to MAU, particularly for older patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-186
Number of pages7
JournalEmergency Medicine Journal
Issue number4
Early online date7 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2020


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