Acute throat infections in children are too often being treated in hospitals rather than in the community, according to a new report.
Researchers from Imperial College London have found that the number of children admitted to hospital in England for acute throat infection increased by more than three quarters between 1999 and 2010.
Experts suggest that a large number of the children being admitted to hospital for acute throat infections (ATIs) would have formerly been managed in the community.
Acute throat infections, including tonsillitis and acute pharyngitis, are one of the most common reasons for consulting a GP.
Writing in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers found that the number of children admitted to hospital with ATI increased from 12,283 in 1999 to 22,071 in 2010, a rise of 76 per cent.
Short hospital stays increased by 115 per cent and accounted for the majority of admissions, whilst stays of two or more days in hospital decreased slightly.
Dr Elizabeth Koshy, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: “It is very concerning that there has been a major increase in hospital admissions for children with acute throat infections, particularly among those aged under five.
"We think this is likely to be due to problems at the primary care and secondary care interface.
“Our findings relating to short hospital stays suggest that many of the children admitted with acute throat infections could have been effectively managed in the community.
"Our study highlights the need to urgently address the issue of healthcare access, with improved models of integrated care within primary and secondary care, to avoid potentially unnecessary hospital admissions for relatively minor infections in the future.”
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