3 Key findings
The following key findings are shown from the nationally sourced data:
- There are differences in the pattern of service activity for many care services over the course of four-day public holidays compared with a typical weekend.
- The changes in use of the different service types are most evident during the Christmas and New Year holiday periods. Although service pattern at Easter are similar to those occurring at Christmas and New Year holidays, they do not lead to the same pressures as the latter period, with two extended public holidays in close proximity.
- Due to the increase in demand, the time it takes to see patients during these holidays takes up one hour longer at Primary Care Out of Hours services ( PC OOH) and up to 30 minutes in Accident and Emergency services during these holidays.
- The demand for the Scottish Ambulance Service ( SAS) in the early hours of New Years day is particularly high.
- NHS 24 and PC OOH see up to a 60% increase in demand for their services on days three and four of the Christmas and New Year public holidays.
- There is variation in the average length of stay according to the day of the week that people are admitted to hospital in the period around the Christmas and New Year holiday. This variation occurs throughout the rest of the year. Compared with the period either side of the festive holidays, a patient admitted as an emergency on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve can expect to be in hospital around 1 day longer on average.
- Information from a sample of local authorities suggests a big reduction in new home care packages starting during an extended period of several weeks from Christmas Eve onwards.