Use of urgent, emergency and acute care by mental health service users: A record-level cohort study

Jen Lewis, Scott Weich, Colin O'Keefe, Tony Stone, Joe Hulin, Nicholas Bell, Michael Doyle, Mike Lucock, Suzanne Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
People with serious mental illness experience worse physical health and greater mortality than the general population. Crude rates of A&E attendance and acute hospital admission are higher in people with serious mental illness than other hospital users. We aimed to further these findings by undertaking a standardised comparison of urgent and emergency care pathway use among users of mental health services and the general population.

Methods
Retrospective cohort analysis using routine data from 2013–2016 from the CUREd dataset for urgent and emergency care contacts (NHS 111, ambulance, A&E and acute admissions) and linked mental health trust data for Sheffield, England. We compared annual age- and sex-standardised usage rates for each urgent and emergency care service between users of mental health services and those without a recent history of mental health service use.

Results
We found marked differences in usage rates for all four urgent and emergency care services between the general population and users of mental health services. Usage rates and the proportion of users were 5–6 times and 3–4 times higher in users of mental health services, respectively, for all urgent and emergency care services. Users of mental health services were often more likely to experience the highest or lowest acuity usage characteristics.

Conclusions
Current users of mental health services were heavily over-represented among urgent and emergency care users, and they made more contacts per-person. Higher service use among users of mental health services could be addressed by improved community care, more integrated physical and mental health support, and more proactive primary care. A complex pattern of service use among users of mental health services suggests this will need careful targeting to reduce avoidable contacts and optimise patient outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0281667
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS One
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2023

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