NHS Emergency department activity by hour and day of week

Introduction

This is a report on NHS Emergency Department attendances.
The question is this: How does the hourly attendance figures vary by hour and day of week?

Data sources

The health and Social care Information centre publishes lots of data in various formats. Data on ED attendance by hour and day of week (aggregate for all hospitals with an A&E Unit in England) for the years 2011-12 and 2012-13 were downloaded from the HSCIC website.

The weekly pattern

Using R’s base plotting 2011-12 data

ae1

Using GGplot2 with faceting

ae2

Conclusion

There is a clear ebb and flow pattern in the hourly number of cases that are seen in Accident and Emergency Departments in England. regardless of week day or weekend the peak hourly attendance occurs at around 10 or 11 am, with the trough in the early hours of the morning between 4 and 6 am.

Whether or not this fluctuating pattern is justified by clinical need is another question.

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