Background and aims Nowadays in Portugal we are witnessing an excessive demand for differentiated health services which generates misuse of resources, increase in costs and a tendency of rupture to the system itself. We aimed to characterise a paediatric emergency department (PED)’s use and to define whether there is unjustified demand for health care.
Methods Retrospective cross sectional analysis of emergency episodes during one year (2012) on a level II PED in Barreiro, Portugal. Episodes were defined as unjustified when classified as standard and non-urgent by Manchester Triage. Demographic and clinical data were analysed. Adequate statistical analysis was performed; level of significance p < 0.05.
Results We analysed 37,099 PED episodes. Most patients were male (53%), and There was a significant correlation between PED’s unjustified use and both week’s day and day’s hour: episodes occurred mostly at weekends (p11-years (p < 0.05).
Conclusion There was an excessive use of the PED by non-emergent episodes in our study. It’s crucial to create measures to contain this phenomenon, namely promoting and strengthening the primary health care, the chain of care and referral network, as well as increase the population’s health literacy.