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Each year the NHS provides around 110 million urgent same-day patient contacts. Around 85 million of these are urgent GP appointments; and the rest are A&E or minor injuries-type visits. Some estimates suggest that between 1.5 and 3 million people who come to A&E each year could have their needs addressed in other parts of the urgent care system. They turn to A&E because it seems like the best or only option. The rising pressures on A&E services also stem from continued growth in levels of emergency admissions and from delayed transfers of care when patients are fit to leave hospital.

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