This figure shows variations in the pattern of emergency admissions by primary care trust (PCT) area. The research team used the 152 PCTs that existed in England at the end of 2008/09, with indirect standardisation (adjusting for the age and sex differences in the population) to calculate the expected level of emergency admissions based on the national average.

Comparing this to the observed number of emergency admissions gives a standardised admission ratio (SAR) that can be used to compare across PCT areas. A SAR value above 1 indicates that the number of admissions observed is greater than that expected.  Across all PCTs the SAR values range from about 0.5 (about half the expected value) to over 2 (twice the expected value). In 2004/5 there were higher SARs in urban areas, and particularly in the North West and North East

An accompanying interactive map is also available, which illustrates variations in the pattern of emergency admissions by Primary Care Trust (PCT) area between 2004/5 and 2008/09.

This analysis was published in July 2010 in the Nuffield Trust report: Trends in emergency admissions in England 2004-2009: is greater efficiency breeding inefficiency? The report examined in detail the rise in emergency admissions in England from 2004/05 to 2008/09. It revealed the number of emergency admissions across England had risen by approximately 11.8 per cent – or by around 1.35million extra admissions.

For further information about our work in this area, visit the Understanding trends in emergency care project page.

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