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New NHS plan to help patients avoid long hospital stays


Action to help tens of thousands more people avoid lengthy spells in hospital is being rolled out nationwide as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

NHS doctors, nurses and other staff are being encouraged to ask themselves ‘Why not home? Why not today?’ when planning care for patients recovering from an operation or illness, as part of a campaign – called ‘Where Best Next?’ – which aims to see around 140,000 people every year spared a hospital stay of three weeks or more.

The campaign will see posters and other information placed in hospitals aimed at different staff groups, encouraging them to take practical steps every day to help get patients closer to a safe discharge – whether to their own home or a more suitable alternative in the community.

Dr Taj Hassan, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “The ‘Why not home? Why not today?’ campaign is really important in helping staff to make sure patients are discharged promptly if it is medically appropriate... A greater length of stay increases the risk of hospital acquired infections and further illness. We know that extended stays in a hospital bed can lead to significant muscle loss, particularly in older people, so ensuring that patients do not stay any longer than they need really is vital."

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Source: NHS England, 19 August 2019

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