Leicester Royal Infirmary A&E 'timewasters' cost £1.5m

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People who visited Leicester Royal Infirmary's emergency department when they did not need treatment have cost the hospital £1.5m.

This year the hospital has seen 29,300 people who did not need treatment, a report says.

The data comes from the Dr Foster report, which is an annual assessment of England's hospitals.

It suggests care is being "jeopardised by high numbers of elderly patients who could be treated elsewhere".

Phil Walmsley, head of operations for the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said each person who walked through the door seeking medical help cost the hospital £54.

'Pressure into system'

Up to 25% of people who arrive at A&E just need to take an aspirin, or they may have a rash or cut that could be dealt with by NHS Direct or at a walk-in centre, the report said.

Mr Walmsley advised people to stock up on medication, get advice from pharmacies or visit their GP first.

He said: "It puts pressure into a system that is already busy and we do manage to see some people at the front door and send them off, but some come through the system and we have to cope with it every single day."

The latest figures come at a time when the hospital said it was already dealing with an increase in emergency cases.

Leicester West MP Liz Kendall, shadow health minister, said: "The figures do concern me, but we do need to get the best care for people in Leicester but value for money as well.

"We need to make sure that services are available locally because people often go to A&E if they don't know where else they can get the treatment they need or can't get to see their GP.

"We need to get the message out there about what alternative support is available."

In Derby, people who visited Royal Derby Hospital's A&E department when they did not need treatment cost the hospital £640,000.

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