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Patients with non-organic disorders are commonly seen in neurology outpatient clinics1 and use a considerable amount of health service resources.2 Less is known, however, about the prevalence of these disorders among patients who occupy inpatient neurology beds in the UK.3,4
We set out to establish the number of patients with non-organic neurological disorders admitted to the neurology ward in Oxford, UK, during a 12-month period and to estimate the hospital resources used by these patients.
The ward serves a population of about 2.4 million. A relatively small proportion of inpatients are admitted through their general practitioners (GPs). The unit provides a regional and supraregional videotelemetry service. We acknowledge that these factors may limit the generalisability of some of our results.
We studied 693 consecutive neurology ward admissions (563 patients) between August 2001 and August 2002. These admissions were split into two lists on the basis of apparent specificity of the diagnostic coding term (DCT) assigned by the hospital coding office: list 1 (n = 380), DCT organic and unambiguous (eg, Myasthenia gravis); and list 2 (n = 313), DCT non-specific (eg, epilepsy, unspecified). We predicted that any admissions with a non-organic diagnosis would be contained within list 2.
After reviewing the medical discharge summary (and subsequent correspondence if necessary), each admission from list …
Competing interests: None.