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Responses to our report on leaving hospitals and other care settings

Here we share how organisations from across the health and care sector have responded to our report 'What happens when people leave hospital and other care settings'.

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Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:

"There are undeniable pressures on the health and care system, and while this report highlights how these continue to grow, there can never be an excuse for some of the fundamental failings Healthwatch has revealed still take place. Some of the experiences set out in this report are deeply worrying and older people cannot be left in a position where they are being discharged from hospital without proper care in place. They must also always have their medications ready to go with them, and transport arranged so they can be discharged at a time that is safe and convenient for all involved in their care."

"There are welcome pockets of good practice, but the problem of delayed discharges will simply continue as long as the government fudges funding solutions that will work across the health and social care system as a whole. It's in that context, it simply can't have helped for the government to have placed so much of the responsibility on solving delayed discharges at the door of social care services when it is these very services that have been hit the hardest by cuts to their funding.”

Julia Scott, CEO of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists said:

“The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has documented examples of excellent local practice where occupational therapists are fully utilised to help patients get home safely and in a supported way as soon as they are medically fit. Despite this, and the fact that such examples show both a personal and financial gain, regional variation is all too apparent. Today’s report is yet further evidence of the need for commissioners and care providers to actively support the development of therapy-led services so that everyone has access to the best quality and safest discharge and recovery services wherever in they live.

“Many patients have complex medical needs and social situations which need resolutions rapidly in order to facilitate their safe discharge. Therefore, successful discharge requires liaison with a vast range of personnel and organisations. Occupational therapists are the only registered profession qualified to work across physical and mental health and across NHS and Social Care services. This means they bring a unique understanding that mirrors the patient’s own experience: their journey back to health does not end once they put the key in their front door.”

Saffron Cordery, Director of Policy and Strategy at NHS Providers said:

“We welcome this timely report from Healthwatch which shows that health and social care partners can learn much from patients and families’ feedback to improve their planning and processes for discharge from hospital.

“Poorly planned discharges cause distress and risk harm to patients and create significant pressure on hospitals and their staff.

“Despite progress, Healthwatch’s research has found that many people still report a poor experience when it comes to leaving hospital.

“We know that delayed discharges affect the whole health and care system. Better communication and coordination between health services and local authorities can lead to rapid improvements. Patients and their families also need to be front and centre of decisions about their care when they leave hospital. When trusts work with patients to manage their discharge this improves safety, leads to a better experience, and reduces the risk of readmission.

“Helpfully, the report also highlights many examples where trusts and their local partners have used patient feedback to improve their discharge planning. We encourage all trusts to consider how they might learn from these examples to improve their own processes.”

A spokesperson from NHS England said: 

“This report provides further support for the intensive focus the NHS is giving to safe and speedy hospital discharge, and the related importance of local councils' actions to ensure proper home care and care home places for frail older people."


<< Go back to find out more about our work on leaving care