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Why are so many elderly patients abandoned by the NHS the minute they leave hospital?

Hospitals are sending frail, vulnerable patients home before they are better and without vital medical care, leaving them unable to fend for themselves.

Over the past fortnight, The Mail on Sunday has received an alarming number of letters from readers who have told of their anger, frustration and sheer desperation at being denied support they were promised. Many have been left bed-bound and unable to wash, dress or use the bathroom for weeks on end.

The daughter of an 87-year-old stroke survivor had to put a hospital bed in her living room and provide 24/7 care for her mother after the local health team failed to provide adequate support. Within a year, the woman was dead, having been treated with little more than paracetamol.

In another case, a 70-year-old woman had to take her immobile 84-year-old husband to the hospital in a taxi every day for several weeks to have vital injections, because carers refused to come to their home.

And the disabled wife of one 74-year-old man, who fell off a roof and broke his pelvis and ribs, told of the heartbreak at not being able to look after her husband due to her own poor health.

Campaigners say a Government scheme designed address the ‘problem’ of bed-blockers – the somewhat derogatory term used to describe patients, most of them elderly, who are occupying a hospital bed that they don’t strictly need – is to blame.

The protocol, called Discharge To Assess, launched eight years ago, aims to get patients home as quickly as possible amid reports that some elderly patients ended up stuck in wards for months on end – usually because the NHS hasn’t been able to organise the next stage of their care, so it’s not safe discharge them.

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Source: Mail Online, 2 September 2023


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