Impact of COVID-19 on accident and emergency attendances and emergency and planned hospital admissions in Scotland : an interrupted time-series analysis
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Objectives: Following the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, health systems and the populations who use them have faced unprecedented challenges. We aimed to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the uptake of hospital-based care at a national level. Design: The study period (weeks ending 05 January to 28 June 2020) encompassed the pandemic announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the initiation of the UK lockdown. We undertook an interrupted time-series analysis to evaluate the impact of these events on hospital services at a national level and across demographics, clinical specialties and NHS Health Boards. Setting: Scotland, UK. Participants: Patients receiving hospital care from NHS Scotland.Main outcome measures: A&E attendances, and emergency and planned hospital admissions measured using the relative change of weekly counts in 2020 to the averaged counts for equivalent weeks in 2018 and 2019. Results: Before the pandemic announcement, the uptake of hospital care was largely consistent with historical levels. This was followed by sharp drops in all outcomes until UK lockdown, where activity began to steadily increase. This time-period saw an average reduction of -40.7% (95% CI: -47.7 to -33.7) in A&E attendances, -25.8% (95% CI: -31.1 to -20.4) in emergency hospital admissions and -60.9% (95% CI: -66.1 to -55.7) in planned hospital admissions, in comparison to the 2018-2019 averages. All subgroup trends were broadly consistent within outcomes, but with notable variations across age groups, specialties and geography. Conclusions: COVID-19 has had a profoundly disruptive impact on hospital-based care across NHS Scotland. This has likely led to an adverse effect on non-COVID-19 related illnesses, increasing the possibility of potentially avoidable morbidity and mortality. Further research is required to elucidate these impacts.
Mulholland , R H , Wood , R , Stagg , H R , Fischbacher , C , Villacampa , J , Simpson , C R , Vaseleiou , E , McCowan , C , Stock , S J , Docherty , A B , Ritchie , L D , Agrawal , U , Robertson , C , Murray , J L K , MacKenzie , F & Sheikh , A 2020 , ' Impact of COVID-19 on accident and emergency attendances and emergency and planned hospital admissions in Scotland : an interrupted time-series analysis ' , Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine , vol. 113 , no. 11 , pp. 444-453 . https://doi.org/10.1177/0141076820962447
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Copyright © 2020 The Royal Society of Medicine. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at hthttps://doi.org/10.1177/0141076820962447
DescriptionFunding: This analysis is part of the Early Assessment of COVID-19 epidemiology and Vaccine/anti-viral Effectiveness (EAVE II) study. EAVE II is funded by the Medical Research Council (MR/R008345/1) with the support of BREATHE -The Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health [MC_PC_19004], which is funded through the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and delivered through Health Data Research UK. Additional support has been provided through the Scottish Government DGHealth and Social Care. HRS is supported by the Medical Research Council [MR/R008345/1].
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