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MPs call on Government to address delays in discharging older patients


The Committee of Public Accounts urges new measures to tackle scale and cost of delays in discharging patients from hospital. Read our response.

A new report from the Committee of Public Accounts has found that there is a ‘poor understanding of the scale of discharge problems’ and an ‘unacceptable variation in local performance on discharging such patients’.

Issues, which the report concludes, are not helped by the poor sharing of patient information between services, the funding pressures facing local adult social care services and not enough services adopting best practice when it comes to hospital discharge.

The report ‘Discharging older people from acute hospitals’ includes a number of recommendations for Government and the NHS to understand and address these issues.

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Responding to the report, Interim Chair of Healthwatch England, Jane Mordue, said:

“Given the human and financial cost of getting discharge wrong it’s absolutely vital that the NHS gets to grips with this problem, both for individual patients and the future sustainability of the health service.

“Nationally the Department of Health is starting to provide the national leadership needed, whilst local Healthwatch are seeing hospitals, GPs and care homes making positive efforts to improve things, but we must not lose momentum.

“Ultimately, patient experience of being discharged from hospital offers perhaps the best real life test of how well services are being integrated and can point to where the real pressures are in the system.”

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