Aim: To examine the impact of a 'next day' outpatient clinic, the Early Pregnancy Problem Service, on patients presenting to the Emergency Department with pain or bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy. This clinic was established in June 1996.
Methods: This was a retrospective study involving patients presenting to the Emergency Department with pain or bleeding in early pregnancy. Data was collected from the Emergency Department Information System and the medical records and then compared over the same 2-month periods in different years. These were in, 1996 (preclinic), 1997, 2000 and 2003. The primary outcome was length of stay in the Emergency Department for women with first trimester pain or bleeding that did not require hospital admission. Secondary outcomes were the proportion of such patients presenting and re-presenting to the Emergency Department.
Results: Following establishment of the clinic there was a significant reduction in the median length of stay in the Emergency Department for patients who were discharged (136 mins in 1996 vs 107 mins in 2003; P < 0.001). There were non-significant reductions in the proportion of patients presenting to the Emergency Department (1.5% in 1996 vs 1.1% in 2003; P = 0.09) and the number re-presenting (16% in 1996 vs 7% in 2003; P = 0.15).
Conclusion: Following the introduction of the Early Pregnancy Problem Service, women presenting with first trimester pain or bleeding who did not require emergency hospital admission spent significantly less time in the Emergency Department.