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Emergency admissions for iron deficiency anaemia could be preventable

Scotland has unnecessarily high levels of emergency admissions for iron deficiency anaemia, says report

Nearly half of the hospital admissions for patients with iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) in Scotland are emergency cases compared with only 20% in England.

The data is included in a new report ‘Iron deficiency anaemia in Scotland: current situation and key recommendations’ which also suggests 11,000 of the admissions recorded from 2011-2012 were potentially preventable.

It was produced by Ian Arnott, consultant gastroenterologist at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, with financial support from pharmaceutical firm Vifor Pharma.

Emergency admissions are more expensive than planned hospital visits and the report comes as the Scottish government is trying to reduce the total time patients spend in hospital beds.

Among the recommendations are that all patients receive iron therapy immediately after diagnosis of IDA and that clinicians and policy makers work together to review the current lack of indicators and targets relating to the quality of care for patients with the condition.

Supporting the recommendations, Royal Alexandra and Vale of Leven Hospitals gastroenterology department nurse practitioner Seth Squires said: ‘If left unchecked and unidentified, patients begin to adjust to a subnormal existence, assuming the symptoms are a consequence of the disease or condition they have been diagnosed with.

‘There is a considerable wealth of research identifying the burden this has on healthcare systems and society in general.’

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