COVID-19 Wider Impacts - Emergency Department Activity

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. Clinical presentation may range from mild-to-moderate illness to pneumonia or severe acute respiratory infection.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wider impacts on individuals’ health, and their use of healthcare services, than those that occur as the direct result of infection. Reasons for this may include:

• Individuals being reluctant to use health services because they do not want to burden the NHS or are anxious about the risk of infection.

• The health service delaying preventative and non-urgent care such as some screening services and planned surgery.

• Other indirect effects of interventions to control COVID-19, such as mental or physical consequences of distancing measures.

This dataset provides a weekly summary of people attending A&E departments (Emergency Departments and Nurse/GP led minor injury units) in the recent past, along with historical activity for comparison purposes. The recent trend data is shown by age group, sex and broad deprivation category (SIMD). Information is also available at different levels of geographical breakdown such as Health Boards, Health and Social Care partnerships, and Scotland totals.

This data is also available on the COVID-19 Wider Impact Dashboard. Additional data sources relating to this topic area are provided in the Links section of the Metadata below. Information on COVID-19, including stay at home advice for people who are self-isolating and their households, can be found on NHS Inform.

All publications and supporting material to this topic area can be found in the weekly COVID-19 Statistical Report. The date of the next release can be found on our list of forthcoming publications.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Source PHS AE2 Datamart
Author Public Health Scotland
Last Updated October 5, 2023, 09:51 (BST)
Created May 25, 2020, 14:26 (BST)
Contact Address Public Health Scotland, Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9EB
Subject COVID-19 Impact, Emergency Care
Frequency Monthly
Time frame of data and timeliness Public Health Scotland receives information on patients attending Accident & Emergency within days.
Coverage Data covering all of Scotland. Numbers of A&E attendances will include both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related activity.
Completeness Some smaller sites (6% of the total annual attendances) – nurse/GP led minor injury units – can only provide aggregated monthly summary attendance and compliance figures, as they do not have the IT systems and support to enable collection and submission of detailed patient level information. The data for sites that submit aggregate level data is not included in this dataset. Training issues affecting completion and understanding of A&E data items are discussed during annual data quality meetings between PHS and all NHS Boards. Any training or data quality issues raised in between visits will either be noted for follow up at the next Board meeting, or dealt with by email or telephone at that time. A completeness document can be found below in the link section.
Accuracy In addition to local data quality checks, the data submitted to the A&E datamart is subject to a validation procedure (see A&E User guide in the links). As well as ensuring that data for the correct site and time period is submitted, the validation ensures that the data is in the correct format and only contains accepted codes; refer to A&E: Data Recording Manual (see links). If the submission file does not meet all of the validation rules then the whole file is rejected. The resulting errors are reported back to the submitting site where they must be amended and the file resubmitted. Once the file passes validation it is loaded into the datamart where it is then available for analysis and reporting. ISD works closely with colleagues in the NHS boards to improve the validation and accuracy of the data and to ensure that the appropriate data standards are understood and applied by all sites.
Continuity of data Data are comparable for the whole period included.
Concepts and definitions Please see the Weekly COVID-19 Report (Link 1)
Disclosure Disclosure control methods have been applied to the data in order to protect patient confidentiality.
Revision statement Figures contained within each publication may be subject to change in future releases as submissions may be updated to reflect a more accurate and complete set of data.
Official statistics designation Management Information Statistics
Relevance and key uses of the statistics The data are used to describe the current impact and the severity of COVID-19 in Scotland. Such information allows comparison with prior influenza seasons and with current activity across the UK, Europe and globally.
Format csv
Language English

PHS Weekly COVID-19 Report

COVID-19 Wider Impact Dashboard

A&E User Guide

Completeness file

Recording manual

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