PATIENTS attending A&E with no obvious medical condition cost Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital more than £1 million last year, figures reveal.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine said many people anxious about their health have “no alternative” but to turn to A&E for treatment, and added that pressures on emergency departments should not fall on the public.

NHS Digital data shows roughly 4,715 admissions had a primary diagnosis of “nothing abnormal detected” at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust in 2019-20.

The NHS said A&E is for serious and life-threatening emergencies, with patients urged to call 111 over other urgent illnesses.

But Dr Adrian Boyle, vice president of the RCEM, warned there are “many reasons” why someone could attend an emergency department and then be discharged with no serious diagnosis made.

At Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital, sprains or ligament injuries were the most common issues in 2019-20 – for which a diagnosis was listed – accounting for 10,235 emergency episodes.

“They may attend because there is simply no alternative, or they are directed there by an external agency”, said Dr Adrian Boyle, vice president of the RCEM, said: “If patients are unsure about attending A&E or if they have a non-life-threatening condition then they should call NHS 111 where they will be directed to the best care for their particular condition.”

“But crucially patients won’t know the severity of their condition without clinical expertise or examination. Sometimes cases do show no abnormality and at those times we will discharge the patients appropriately.

Dr Boyle added: “However, there are times when we do discover something serious and their attendance may save their life as we are able to swiftly provide appropriate treatment.”