Monday, 1 February 2010

Hospital readmission rates increase

The number of patients readmitted as emergencies within 28 days of being discharged rose from 359,719 in 1998-1999 to 546,354 in 2007-08, the data showed.

Elderly patients made up a large proportion of those affected - with 159,134 over the age of 75 readmitted in 2007-8, compared to 94,283 in 1998-99. The Tories said the figures suggest patients are routinely being released before they are well enough. The party's health spokesman Andrew Lansley said a Conservative government would change NHS rules to stop hospitals being paid again for treating patients they recently discharged.

He said: "It's staggering that there has been such a huge increase in the number of patients having to be readmitted to hospital as emergencies almost as soon as they've been allowed home. It's also a deeply worrying sign that the quality of care in hospitals is being undermined. This raises real concerns that patients are routinely being discharged too soon. Hospitals should not have an incentive to discharge patients quickly and then get paid by the taxpayer a second when they have to be readmitted. I will ensure that through our payment for results approach, hospitals have to meet any costs arising from emergency readmissions themselves."

However, a Department of Health spokesman said: "Patients are only discharged from hospital if the clinicians involved consider it safe and in their best interests. Some patients might require readmission if their health deteriorates, but the numbers are small. Only about 5% of patients discharged from hospital are readmitted within seven days of their discharge. Rates of readmission can also be a sign of better care. More people with long term conditions are being offered the choice of being treated in the community, with readmission only if the condition worsens."
Source: The Metro


Prisoner of Hope said...

While readmission within 28 days is a fairly obvious example of the need for "commissioners" to consider whether their "supplier" provided a "fit for purpose" service, the proposed policy should be extended to readmissions to correct post operative and hospital acquired infections.

Once the so called "world class commissioners" get on top of this relatively easy task they should then get on top of the cost shifting that they (we) pay for when patients are discharged too soon.

What we all need is commissioning of effective hospital care instead of the current wasteful pursuit of apparant "efficient" (and profitable) hospital (re)admissions! The 80's management mantra of "getting it right first time" springs to mind.


My elderly mother was sent home despite our protests. Physios, Docs deemed her fit. 15hrs later I had to dial 999 as she developed breathing difficulities and she was straight back in!

I worked in hospitals many years ago and Friday was known as chucking out day.

They cleared as many beds as poss as not as many staff are on at weekends.

It was a sad sight to see little old ladies frail as an underfed doormouse being shipped back home to cope alone!

Mark Wadsworth said...

DN, that's all good anecdotal evidence, keep it coming.

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