Accessibility and A&E (2)

Some studies have shown that increasing travel time to an accident and emergency (A&E) unit can increase the number of patient deaths. For example, in May 2013 the UK newspaper the Daily Mail published an article (ref. A) headed “shocking proof A&E closures cost lives – death rate jumps more than a third after department closes.

Research papers on the topic include for example, one by Jon Nicholl and others (ref. B, 2007). This concluded that “increased journey distance to hospital appears to be associated with increased risk of mortality”. And an earlier paper  by G. Bentham (ref.C, 1986) suggested that “geographical variations in mortality rate are related to differences in the dependence on private transport, to the social composition of the population and to proximity to hospital accident and emergency facilities. This latter result suggests that policy-makers need to pay more attention to the accessibility of accident and emergency services.” (own emphasis).


A – Daily Mail, 11 May 2013. Link:

B – Nicholl, Jon et al, “The relationship between distance to hospital and patient mortality in emergencies: an observational study“, Emerg Med J. 2007 September; 24(9): 665–668

C – Bentham, G. “Proximity to hospital and mortality from motor vehicle traffic accidents” Soc Sci Med.,1986


About roadnotes

Robert Bartlett is an international consultant with over 30 years of professional experience as a highway and traffic engineer with leading companies and organisations in several countries, including Germany, China (Hong Kong), Qatar and the UK. Specialised in urban studies, transport and the use of GIS, research has included new ideas on subjects such as the study of social justice using GIS, the dimensions of vehicles, and comparative geometrics (highways and transport).
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