This retrospective study reviewed the ENT-related cases seen, and the discharge or transfer outcomes, at both a local ‘walk-in centre’ and the respective emergency department, over one year in Norwich.
Of the 7657 ENT cases seen at the walk-in centre, the commonest conditions included tonsillitis or pharyngitis, otalgia, cough, and deafness. In comparison, 1586 patients were seen at the emergency department, and the commonest conditions were epistaxis and throat foreign bodies. Of the ENT cases seen at the walk-in centre, 85.4 per cent were treated and discharged. Of the 14.6 per cent referred to other healthcare providers, 11.1 per cent were to the general practitioner. In comparison, the emergency department discharged 41.2 per cent and referred 58.8 per cent to other healthcare providers.
This study indicates that ENT cases may constitute a large proportion of patients seen in walk-in centres, and that the case types seen may differ from those presenting to emergency departments. It also indicates that walk-in centres may potentially be assessing, treating and discharging 85.4 per cent of ENT patients seen.
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