An assessment of emergency care at a West Midlands hospital has revealed that nine patients had attended accident and emergency 128 times in a three month period.

NHS West Midlands commissioned the review of the North Staffordshire health economy to try to address increasing activity.

University Hospital of North Staffordshire trust, NHS North Staffordshire and NHS Stoke-on-Trent, West Midlands ambulance service trust and local authorities, working with Atos Consulting, looked for patterns in attendances that could be addressed.

The organisations agreed they could reduce attendances by 10-20 per cent a year - 4,400 to 8,000 cases. This includes eliminating around 208 attendances a year from “high usage GPs”, 624 police referrals and 1,456 by redirecting to a walk in centre or minor injuries unit.

A report on the project said: “It was well known by those working in the process every day, that there were more appropriate options available for routing these patients.”

The organisations have already begun responding. Initiatives have included introducing a primary care trust-funded temporary minor injuries unit in a car park in the city centre.

Early contact with GP practices with frequent attendees has also reduced their visits by 61 per cent. As well as attendance patterns, the project has addressed the A&E assessment process and patient flow, recommending the development of a new “system wide reporting solution” for emergency care.