Attempts to reduce pressure on Accident and Emergency departments by diverting the least sick do little to cut attendances or save money, new research suggests.The study published in the Emergency Medicine Journal, found little evidence that schemes which try to weed out “low need” patients and send them to GPs and minor injuries units help to cut crowding in casualty units.The research, which considered 15 different studies, found that attempts to redirect patients did not cut the proportion transferred to emergency care. Nor did it cut subsequent use of emergency care services, or reduce healthcare spending, the studies found.Since last winter, every major A&E unit has been obliged to introduce “front-door streaming” so that patients can be assessed to see if they really need to be seen at the emergency unit.Health officials hope such schemes can reduce the number of patients attending A&E units, leaving more resources for the most acutely ill.Researchers from Canada examined 15 relevant studies into the topic. They found no clear evidence that redirecting such patients is either safe or effective. The proportion of patients who were suitable for diversion was found to be low and many patients do not want to receive care from alternative sources, they added.The authors concluded that there is little evidence to back the approach of diverting patients.“This review was unable to demonstrate conclusive evidence regarding the effectiveness of diversion strategies on emergency department use and subsequent healthcare utilisation,” they wrote.“At this time there is insufficient evidence to recommend the implementation of diversion protocols as effective or safe strategies to address emergency department overcrowding.”Lead author, Dr Brian Rowe, University of Alberta, suggested that devoting resources to diversion could prove wasteful“I am not sure the efforts involved in doing diversion are really worth all the costs, time, and surveillance,” he said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. It comes as a leading doctor for the elderly raised fears that a national drive to reduce long stays in hospital could risk patient safety.Tahir Masud, new president of the British Geriatrics Society, said NHS trusts could not keep cutting length of stay without “adverse consequences,” warning that some were already moving vulnerable patients around too frequently putting them at “risk of harm, particularly delirium, and falls”.“It happens a fair bit around the country, especially in the winter,” he told Health Service Journal. Bed moves in the middle of the night when the patient was asleep or “without explaining what’s happening” led to “resentment and anger from patients and their families”, the consultant at Nottingham University Hospitals trust said.NHS figures from 70 NHS trusts show a 22 per cent rise in emergency readmissions between 2013/14 and 2017/18. The figures obtained by Healthwatch England show the number of emergency readmissions within 24 hours of being discharged rose 33 per cent over the same period.