A former chief executive of the NHS has said most data collected about hospital discharges by NHS England is ‘useless’ and biased against social care.
Sir David Nicholson, who was chief executive of the NHS from 2006 to 2013, and of NHS England until 2014, has said “almost all” of the data around delayed discharges “is designed to show how bad social care is”.
Sir David, who is now chair of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust, added that data on the number of patients with the “right to reside” in hospital is “wholly useless” when trying to improve discharge rates.
NHSE publishes figures on the numbers of patients who “no longer meet the criteria to reside” in hospital – and during the winter months will publish this every week. NHSE has said the data collected on discharges helps to improve patient care and flow.
In an interview with HSJ editor, Sir David said: “The problem we have with a lot of the data we collect [is that] it is designed for accountability reasons, not operational reasons.
“And if you want a good example of that, have a look at the debate around discharge at the moment. There is a myriad of data, almost all of it is useless […] and almost all of it is designed to show how bad social care is. It’s extraordinary".
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Source: HSJ, 30 November 2022