'Health MOTs' to be offered to older patients 'at front door of A&Es'

"Health MOTs" will be offered to older patients "at the front door" of hospital A&E departments to avoid unnecessary admissions, the health service has said.

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said the approach could be a "lifeline" for many patients as it would allow them to be assessed and supported quicker.

It will focus on people aged 65 and over or those with frailty-related conditions.

The tests, which will be available for 10 hours a day, seven days a week, will check blood pressure, heart health and mobility, as well as checking for malnutrition.

NHS staff will also look at a patient's respiratory and fall records.

Based on the results, patients will be signposted to specialist care, such as fall services and dementia support.

Ms Pritchard said: "While some people do need to be admitted, it isn't always the most suitable place for older patients' needs, and they can also rapidly lose mobility while in hospital.

"Health MOTs at the front door of A&Es for older people could be a lifeline for many - from blood pressure tests to a review of their falls history, these checks mean patients can be assessed quickly and directed to the right support for their needs."

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NHS England estimates that about one million people over the age of 75 are admitted to hospital each year, a fifth of whom are very frail.

A study by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in April suggested more than 250 patients a week in England may have died unnecessarily last year due to very long waits for a bed in A&E.

It found there was an excess death for every 72 patients that spent eight to 12 hours in A&E.

The new approach is part of an update to the urgent and emergency care recovery plan, which was introduced in May.

The plan also includes cash incentives for hospitals that do not leave patients waiting in A&E for 12 hours or more and an expansion of virtual wards in a bid to free up space in emergency departments.