24 Jan 2011

Hospital overloading not due to GP patients, say doctors

6:04 am on 24 January 2011

Doctors are disputing claims that overcrowding in emergency departments is caused by patients choosing to visit hospitals rather than see their GP.

The Waitemata and Auckland District Health Boards say people trying to avoid after-hours costs contributed to a surge in admissions during the Christmas holidays.

John Bonning from the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine says about 10% of patients that are treated at hospital could have been seen by their GP, but they only account for about 2% of an emergency department's workload.

Dr Bonning says blockages and bed shortages further down the line are responsible for overcrowding in the departments.