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Cornwall hospital to discharge patients early despite saying it may be harmful

PUBLISHED

A major NHS hospital is under such pressure that it has decided to discharge people early even though it admits that patients may be harmed and doctors think the policy is unwise.

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS trust has told staff to help it reduce the severe overcrowding it has been facing in recent weeks by discharging patients despite the risks involved.

In a memo sent on 8 January, three trust bosses said the Royal Cornwall hospital in Truro, which is also known as Treliske hospital and has the county’s only A&E department, “has been under significant pressure for the last two weeks and it is vital that we are able to see and admit our acutely unwell patients through our emergency department and on to our wards”.

The memo added: “One of these mitigations was to look at the level of risk that clinicians are taking when discharging patients from Treliske hospital either to home or to community services, recognising that this may be earlier than some clinicians would like and may cause a level of concern.

“It was agreed, however, that this would be a proportionate risk that we as a health community were prepared to take on the understanding that there is a possibility that some of these patients will be readmitted or possibly come to harm.”

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Source: 14 January 2020

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