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Trends in emergency hospital admissions of children: observations from Scotland
  1. Rachael Wood1,
  2. Mitch Blair2,
  3. Philip Wilson3
  1. 1Information Services Division, NHS National Services Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2River Island Academic Centre for Paediatrics and Child Health, Imperial College London, Middlesex, UK
  3. 3Centre for Rural Health, University Of Aberdeen, Inverness, UK

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The recent paper by Gill et al reports that emergency admissions of children in England have increased year on year since 2003.1 We have replicated and extended Gill's analysis for Scotland. General hospital discharge (SMR01) records and Accident & Emergency (A&E) attendance records held by the National Health Service (NHS) National Services Scotland Information Services Division were interrogated to identify emergency continuous inpatient stays and new A&E attendances for children aged 0–14 years from 1999–2011 and from 2009–2012, respectively. Continuous inpatient stays are complete stays in hospital from admission to discharge regardless of within and between hospital transfers. National Records for Scotland midyear population estimates provided denominators.

In Scotland, the overall emergency admission rate for children aged 0–14 years was relatively constant between 1999 and 2002, increased gradually to 2006, plateaued to 2009, then declined in 2010 before increasing again in 2011 (figures 1 and 2). There were 54 354 admissions (rate 58.2/1000) in 1999 compared with 55 895 (65.5/1000) in 2011. The …

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  • Contributor MB had the original idea for the analysis. RW was responsible for all data analysis and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. PW provided advice on relevant aspects of Scottish health service organisation and delivery. All authors reviewed and contributed to the final draft of the manuscript.

  • Ethics approval All analyses were undertaken within the NHS National Services Scotland Information Services Division (ISD) with only aggregated, non-patient–identifiable results released out with ISD. No approval was therefore required from the Privacy Advisory Committee.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Researchers wishing to access Scottish routine health data for research purposes should contact NHS National Services Scotland Information Services Division (