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Hospitals: Admissions

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the five most common causes of admission to hospital for (a) children and (b) adults were in the latest period for which statistics are available. (252154)

The five most common reasons for admission to hospital for (a) children and (b) adults, where children are defined as under 16 years of age and adults over 16 years of age, in the latest period for which data are available are shown in the following tables.

16 and under (children)

Primary diagnosis1

Number of finished admission episodes2

(Liveborn infants according to place of birth3


Acute upper respiratory infections of multiple and unspecified sites


Disorders relating to short gestation and low birth weight


Dental caries4


Viral infection of unspecified site


Acute tonsillitis


Over 16 (adults)

Primary diagnosis1

Number of finished admission episodes2

Pain in throat and chest


Abdominal and pelvic pain


Other cataract


Malignant neoplasm of breast


Perineal laceration during delivery


1 Primary diagnosis—The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 20 diagnosis fields in the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data set and provides the main reason why the patient was treated in hospital.

2 Finished admission episodes—A finished admission episode is the first period of inpatient care under one consultant within one health care provider. Finished admission episodes are counted against the year in which the admission episode finishes. Please note that admissions do not represent the number of inpatients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

3 Z38 (Liveborn infants according to place of birth) is used as a diagnosis code for babies who are well and do not require any care. Every episode (including birth episodes) must contain a primary diagnosis so this code is used for ‘well babies’. To account for this, we have provided the top six most common conditions for 16 and under children.

4 Prior to 2001 general dental practitioners (GDPs) were allowed to give general anaesthetics for dental procedures within their practices. Following their acceptance of the recommendations in the report “A Conscious Decision” Ministers agreed that by 31 December 2001 general anaesthesia for dental treatment should be administered in a hospital setting with critical care facilities. During 2001 regulations were put in place in respect of the administration of general anaesthesia for dental treatment under arrangements to provide general dental services and in the private sector. Thus anyone doing this in the primary care setting for the last year had to be inspected and registered by their local health authority. The large numbers of general anaesthetics undertaken by general dental practitioners (GDPs) and also the Community Dental Service had to be transferred to the hospital setting. Currently a large proportion of those general anaesthetics for treatment of dental caries are provided by the Salaried Dental Services, but out of acute hospital Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery departments under a services level agreement. They are usually out-patient in nature but because general anaesthetic has been given are counted as elective procedures.


Activity in English NHS Hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector. Data year 2006-07.


Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.