enter image description here

I don't think the number is correct.

  • 1
    I've edited the question to something that is effectively claim and that we can answer. If you are OK with it I'll reopen, otherwise choose another explicit, specific claim and edit accordingly.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 8:48
  • 7
    Just to make it clear to all readers: the sums quoted are the (estimated) cost to the NHS, not to the patient. All these services are free of charge.
    – TonyK
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 11:54
  • What is the source of this claim - a cropped photo suggests that something important has been cut off
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 12:15
  • But the real question I was getting at is: does a visit to AE for someone with a minor complaint really cost more than the equivalent visit to the GP.. And why? Does the hospital utilise more expensive resources and why
    – Tim Galvin
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:05
  • @TimGalvin I don't think that's one we can answer, there is no notable claim there.
    – Jamiec
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


Just to start of with some clarity, the cost to the patient of all of these services is nil. This poster is advertising the cost to the National Health Service of various forms of treatment. Presumably, the intent is to make users of these services aware of how much they are costing the health service.

Most of these figures appear to be taken from studies performed periodically on the usage of NHS services. One is easy to find online - Reference Costs 2012 - 2013 - gov.uk

That report contains a summary, which has similar figures to the image in this question (possibly adjusted for local variation, or possibly average over the report year and previous year).

Some headline statistics from the 2012-13 data12 (with comparisons against 2011- 12) are as follows:
• 2012-13 reference costs cover £55.2 billion of NHS expenditure, an increase of £1.7 billion (3.2%) over £53.4 billion in 2011-12
• This represents 54% of £102.6 billion13 NHS revenue expenditure in 2012-13
• 5.6 million data items were submitted by 244 NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts
• Detailed costs were provided for 2,100 treatments or procedures covering over 15 million FCEs within admitted patient care alone
• The average cost of a day case is £693 (£682)
• The average cost of an elective inpatient stay excluding excess bed days is £3,366 (£3,215)
• The average cost of a non-elective inpatient short and long stay combined excluding excess bed days is £1,489 (£1,436)
• The average cost of an excess bed day is £273 (£264)
• The average cost of an outpatient attendance is £108 (£106)
The average cost of an A&E attendance is £114 (£108).

I have highlighted the specific item in the above summary which seems to answer this question in the affirmative.

  • Not really, unless the comparison is drawn on a like for lime basis. I.e. Same condition. Do you know if that is the case?
    – Tim Galvin
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 9:02
  • 1
    Not really what?
    – Jamiec
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 9:03
  • 1
    @TimGalvin I still don't follow what your first comment meant. The number is based on the average cost of an A&E visit.
    – Jamiec
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 11:01
  • 1
    Jamiec has already answered the factual side of the question. So I'll answer the followup in the comments - Why? Assuming you spend the same amount of time seeing a doctor and the final treatment is the same why is one three times the price of the other? It's fairly obvious if you consider the overheads for the two. GP - A receptionist and normalish office building. Most medical equipment is low tech and cheap. A&E - A receptionist, multiple nurses per doctor, space in a hospital rather than office building, the same basic equipment plus more advanced medical equipment (some shared with the re
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:11
  • 2
    @TimGalvin: The NHS document explains in considerable detail how its numbers are calculated. In particular, there is a note about "adjusting for casemix" which I didn't completely understand, but seems to be in the direction of your question. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .