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Patients discharged from hospitals without Covid test results

PUBLISHED

Almost half of hospital patients have been discharged without receiving the results of their coronavirus test – including some patients who were sent to care homes, new research from Healthwatch and British Cross has revealed.

Independent national patient body Healthwatch England said it had learned many patients were discharged from hospitals between March and August this year without proper assessments with many vulnerable people sent home without medication, equipment or the care they needed.

At the start of the pandemic thousands of patients were discharged to care homes as NHS England instructed hospitals to free up 15,000 beds ahead of the first wave of coronavirus.

Approximately 25,000 patients were sent to care homes with some not tested, sparking fears this helped seed care homes with the virus. There have been around 16,000 care home deaths linked to COVID-19.

According to a survey of almost 600 discharged patients and interviews with 60 NHS staff, Healthwatch England said it had found serious flaws with the way hospitals had followed NHS England’s instructions.

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Source: The Independent, 24 October 2020

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