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Your spotlight on health and social care services


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Response to rising number of complaints about poor hospital discharge


Today, the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman has reported a 36% increase in the number of investigations linked to people having a poor experience of leaving care.

In their report on unsafe hospital discharge, they highlight a concerning number of cases where patients are being sent home alone, afraid and unable to cope.

Responding to the PHSO’s findings, Jane Mordue, Interim Chair of Healthwatch England, said: 

"The Ombudsman’s findings reflect what local Healthwatch heard last year from more than 3,000 people about their experiences of discharge. While the cases in the report are extreme examples of the harm and distress unsafe discharge causes to individuals and their families, they illustrate how vital it is to get the basics right. 

“We are pleased that the Department of Health is now using this evidence to coordinate a shared response across health and social care providers to ensure that the issue is tackled at every level. Local Healthwatch, who operate across both health and social care, are well placed and ready to help. 

"From the moment we are admitted, all staff across health and care services need to start planning how and when we are going to leave hospital. This is what the best teams already do, working with patients and investing more time in discharge planning. We want to see this replicated across the board, ensuring that everyone experiences a safe and timely discharge.”

 Related items

Five reasons things go wrong

In our 2015 report 'Safely home: What happens when people leave hospital and care settings' we highlighted five core reasons people told  us their departure from care was not handled properly:

  1. People are experiencing delays and a lack of co-ordination between different services;
  2. People are feeling left without the services and support they need after discharge;
  3. People feel stigmatised and discriminated against and that they are not treated with appropriate respect because of their conditions and circumstances;
  4. People feel they are not involved in decisions about their care or given the information they need; and
  5. People feel that their full range of needs is not considered.

Find out more