NHS: Almost two million Brits hospitalised with urinary tract infections

More than half of those hospitalised were also over 65 years old.
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Almost two million hospital admissions in the last five years were linked to urinary tract infections (UTIs), NHS England has said.

The health service has called for better awareness of symptoms of UTIs among elderly people, who are more prone to these infections, and their carers, in a bid to reduce the high number of hospital visits. NHS England said that between 2018/19 and 2022/23 there were 1.8m hospital admissions where patients were either admitted because of a UTI or where they were admitted for another reason and found to also have a UTI – sometimes referred to as a water infection.

Some 800,000 of these admissions were as a direct result of a UTI. This includes 147,285 admissions with a primary diagnosis of UTI last year.

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth.Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth.
Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth.

More than half of this group (56 per cent) were over 65 years old, according to NHS figures released to mark a new awareness campaign by the NHS and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Some of the symptoms of UTI include: needing to urinate more frequently or urgently than usual; pain or a burning sensation when passing urine; new pain in the lower tummy; kidney pain or pain in the lower back; blood in wee; and for older people can include changes in behaviour such as acting agitated or confused.

But people can take steps to reduce their risk including keeping hydrated by regularly drinking enough fluids, going to the toilet as soon as possible when needed and regular cleaning.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director, said: “If left untreated (UTIs) can become serious infections and can lead to admission to hospital.

“So if you or someone you care for has any symptoms like pain when peeing, a high temperature, lower tummy pain, or changes in behaviour, please seek advice as soon as possible from your GP, a walk-in centre, community pharmacist, or by calling NHS 111, as the quicker a UTI is detected, the faster and easier it is to treat.”

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