As for fact based evidence being used to reform Health Services in Northern Ireland it seems fact are still something that are missing. During a recent evidence session it is again proved that the Compton Review is not made on fact based evidence, it is made on guess work and assumption from surveys.
The Compton Review is proving to be a bigger scam than Developing Better Services & the last Spending Review put together, the only
Mr McDevitt: That is OK. I was curious about that as well. I saw that the language used was different, which is why I asked the question.
I have questions on a couple of other areas. It seems to me that everyone is settled on the estimate of 20% to 30% of attendances being inappropriate. Is that the case?
Ms Hinds: There is a range of evidence. The word "inappropriate" is not always helpful. Sometimes, people attend A&E because they have no alternative. Some patients might take offence at being termed "inappropriate" attenders. Are there alternatives to which a patient can go? Yes, of course there are. If you look at the evidence, you will see that the that figure probably shifts between 5% and 20%, depending on whom you talk to. There is potentially scope for more patients to go to primary care; there is perhaps scope for a greater role for our minor injuries service. That is the whole system of emergency care services. However, you are right: 30% appears in some evidence; it is not consistently in all evidence. Some trusts are testing having general practitioners in the emergency department or co-located with it to see whether that steers some patients away from the A&E department. However, I would not like to use the term "inappropriate" patients.
Mr McDevitt: This morning, I had a private conversation with someone about that very example this morning. I will not go into it in detail, as it would not be fair to do so in public session.
May I try to nail you down on the figure, Mary — or Catherine, John or Margaret? I am looking at a departmental response, which states:
"However estimates are that around 20-30% of attendances are inappropriate."
That is the paper's language, not mine. You have said that it is more like 5% to 20%. Where does the figure of 30% come from?
Ms Margaret Rose McNaughton (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety): Perhaps I can answer that. The figure came from a Southern Trust survey a while back, because there were no hard and fast figures. I think that the figure was given in response to a question from an Assembly researcher, and, at the time, we had absolutely no figures.