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Hospital Episode Statistics, Emergency readmissions to hospital within 28 days of discharge

Publication date: 09:30 December 05, 2012


These emergency readmission indicators provide information to help the NHS monitor success in avoiding (or reducing to a minimum) readmission following discharge from hospital.


Not all emergency readmissions are likely to be part of the originally planned treatment and some may be potentially avoidable. The NHS may be helped to prevent potentially avoidable readmissions by seeing comparative figures and learning lessons from organisations with low readmission rates.


The indicators presented measure emergency admissions to hospitals in England occurring within 28 days of the last, previous discharge from hospital.

- There are five emergency readmissions indicators: fractured proximal femur; hip replacement surgery; hysterectomy; stroke and 'all readmissions'

- Data is presented for the period 2001/02 to 2010/11, split by gender where applicable, and by age group for the 'all readmissions' indicator

- Data is provided for around 700 health and local government organisations in England


These indicators were previously published on the Compendium of Clinical and Health Indicators and are now published on the NHS IC's Indicator Portal as part of the continuing release of this indicator set.


Data, along with indicator specifications, providing details of indicator construction, data quality, statistical methods and interpretation considerations, can be accessed on The NHS IC's Indicator Portal:

Go to the indicators

Cautionary notes on interpretation

§ A number of factors outside the control of hospitals, such as the socio-economic mix of local populations and events prior to hospitalisation, may contribute to the variation shown by the indicators. Differences in case-mix, severity of illness, comorbidities and other potential risk factors also contribute to the variation.

§ No attempt has been made to assess whether the readmission was linked to the discharge in terms of diagnosis or procedure.

§ Some emergency readmissions may be potentially avoidable and a result of poor treatment in hospital, or poor or badly organised rehabilitation and support services when a person is transferred home following treatment. This analysis does not attempt to identify whether the emergency readmissions were avoidable.

§ 'All readmissions' includes all finished and unfinished continuous inpatient (CIP) spells that are emergency admissions within 0-27 days (inclusive) of the last, previous discharge from hospital, including those where the patient dies, but excluding the following: those with a main specialty upon readmission coded under obstetric or mental health specialties; and those where the readmitting spell has a diagnosis of cancer (other than benign or in situ) or chemotherapy for cancer coded anywhere in the spell.


Key Facts

In the 2010/11 financial year:

§ There were 648,100 emergency readmissions with 6,900 emergency readmissions for fractured proximal femur, 6,800 for stroke, 3,400 for primary hip replacement surgery and 3,400 for hysterectomy.

§ Fractured proximal femur had the highest emergency readmission rate with 12.9 per cent of people readmitted within 28 days of the last, previous discharge from hospital. This was followed by stroke (12.0 per cent) and hysterectomy (7.2 per cent). Primary hip replacement surgery had the lowest emergency readmission rates of the four procedures/diagnoses investigated with 5.6 per cent of people readmitted within 28 days of the last, previous discharge from hospital. Rates have been indirectly standardised by age and sex; further details are available in the indicator specifications.

§ Emergency readmission rates were significantly higher for men than for women for fractured proximal femur, primary hip replacement surgery and 'all readmissions'. There was no significant difference in the stroke readmission rates for men and women.


Over the time period 2001/02 to 2010/11:

§ Emergency readmission rates have increased significantly for stroke, fractured proximal femur, hysterectomy and 'all readmissions'.

§ There has been no significant change in the emergency readmission rate for primary hip replacement.


Date Range: 01 April 2001 to 31 March 2011
Geographical coverage: England
Geographical granularity: Country, Strategic Health Authorities, NHS Trusts, Primary Care Organisations, Hospital Trusts, Government Office Regions, Local Authorities, Primary Care Trusts, Mental Health Trusts, County, Independent Sector Health Care Providers, Regions

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