Investigating the impact of an atypical winter respiratory season in England 2014/15 using syndromic surveillance
PHE ePoster Library. Smith S. Sep 13, 2016; 137991; 236
Sue Smith
Sue Smith
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Abstract
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Abstract During the 2014/15 winter in England, there were reports of growing pressures within the National Health Service (NHS), with increasing emergency department attendances, and a shortage of hospital beds. We aimed to retrospectively analyse real-time syndromic surveillance data to determine where these pressures originated, and whether any additional advanced early warning could be incorporated into future health surveillance programmes.Data collected from a suite of national PHE syndromic surveillance systems were included in this study: general practitioner consultations (in and out of hours; GPIH and GPOOH); emergency department attendances (EDSSS); and NHS 111 'telehealth' calls. Data from winter 2014/15 were compared to previous winters for respiratory indicators including influenza-like illness, cold/flu, lower respiratory tract infection and severe asthma. Data were stratified by age group and analysed and interpreted using epidemiological and statistical methods.GPIH consultations for ILI were within seasonally expected levels however GPIH severe asthma consultations and ED pneumonia attendances were considerably higher than baseline levels. Statistical analysis highlighted significant differences in the 65-74 and 75+ years age groups for a number of respiratory indicators including GPIH ILI, severe asthma and lower respiratory tract infection.These results support the hypothesis that during winters where the burden of respiratory infections lie in the elderly population, greater pressures are experienced in the NHS. Improved statistical methods to detect increases in this age group for respiratory surveillance indicators may provide additional early warning of potential problems in future winters thus providing the NHS with sufficient intelligence to plan for increased pressures.
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