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Found 155 results
  1. News Article
    People with Covid-19 were discharged to care homes over fears about the NHS getting “clogged up”, the pandemic inquiry has heard. Professor Dame Jenny Harries, England’s deputy chief medical officer during the pandemic and now head of the UK Health Security Agency, told the inquiry of how an email she sent in mid-March 2020 described the “bleak picture” and “top line awful prospect” of what needed to happen if hospitals overflowed. Discharging people to care homes – where thousands of people died of Covid – has been one of the central controversies when it comes to how the Government handled the pandemic. On Wednesday, the Covid inquiry was read an email exchange between Rosamond Roughton, an official at the Department of Health, and Dame Jenny on March 16 2020. Ms Roughton asked what the approach should be around discharging symptomatic people to care homes, adding: “My working assumption was that we would have to allow discharge to happen, and have very strict infection control? Otherwise the NHS presumably gets clogged up with people who aren’t acutely ill.” Ms Roughton added that this was a “big ethical issue” for care home providers who were “understandably very concerned” and who were “already getting questions from family members”. In response, Dame Jenny emailed: “Whilst the prospect is perhaps what none of us would wish to plan for, I believe the reality will be that we will need to discharge Covid-19 positive patients into residential care settings for the reason you have noted. “This will be entirely clinically appropriate because the NHS will triage those to retain in acute settings who can benefit from that sector’s care. “The numbers of people with disease will rise sharply within a fairly short timeframe and I suspect make this fairly normal practice and more acceptable, but I do recognise that families and care homes will not welcome this in the initial phase.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 29 November 2023
  2. Content Article
    Delayed discharges from hospital are a widespread and longstanding problem that can have a significant impact on both patients’ recovery and the efficiency and effectiveness of health and care services. In England, it has become normal practice for government to provide additional one-off funding to reduce delays every winter, as the problem is particularly acute during the colder months.
  3. News Article
    Mental health patients have been left languishing in hospitals for years due to a chronic shortage in community care, as the number of people trapped on wards hits a record high, The Independent can reveal. Analysis shows 3,213 patients were stuck on units for more than three months last year, including 325 children kept in adult units. Of those a “deeply concerning” number have been deemed well enough to leave but have nowhere to go. One of these cases was Ben Craig, 31, who says he was left “scarred” after being stranded on a ward for two years – despite being fit enough to leave – because two councils fought over who should pay for his supported housing. He missed his daughter's birth and didn’t meet her until she was 18 months old while waiting to be discharged, which only exacerbated his depression. He told The Independent: “I was promised I was going to be moving on, but it just seemed like it went on forever.” Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive for NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, told The Independent mental health patients stuck in hospitals were experiencing “personal distress” and getting ill again while they wait. She called on the government to put mental health on an “equal foot” to physical care and said not doing so suggested the government was content not to treat all patients equally. Read full story Source: The Independent, 27 November 2023
  4. News Article
    An acute trust is launching its own social care service to reduce the ‘astronomical’ costs of delayed discharges. Harrogate and District Foundation Trust is among the first NHS providers to branch out into direct social care provision, in what the trust says is a “lift and shift” from the model adopted by Northumbria Healthcare FT. HDFT is now embarking on a six-month pilot of its new social care service. It comes as around 20 of the trust’s 300 beds are occupied by patients waiting for social care packages on a given day. Chief operating officer Russell Nightingale told HSJ delayed discharges are leading to patients who could have returned home with the right support deteriorating in hospital and ending up in care homes. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 23 November 2023
  5. News Article
    The trusts with the most patients waiting at least a week after they are ‘ready’ to be discharged can be identified for the first time, following publication of new NHS England data. The new collection shows how long patients are spending in hospital after being deemed fit for discharge, with around 3.7% of all patients in England waiting a week or longer in hospital following their “discharge ready” date — although about half trusts have so far failed to report accurate data. However, there is considerable variation across the country, with six trusts recording more than double the national average in terms of the proportion of patients declared medically fit for discharge being delayed by a week or more. Sarah-Jane Marsh, NHSE’s national director for urgent and emergency care, told HSJ in February that NHSE would aim to set a “baseline” for the discharge-ready data. HSJ understands NHSE will revisit the idea of a new target based on how long patients wait for discharge after they are “ready”, using the new collection, when more trusts are publishing data. It is also planning to publish data based on responsible local authority in future, given councils’ major role coordinating social care support for some people awaiting discharge. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 23 November 2023
  6. News Article
    Patients are being left feeling “confused and neglected” by not being told who to contact about their future care when they are discharged from hospital, an NHS watchdog has said. Research by Healthwatch England has found that 51% of people are not being given details when they leave of which services they can turn to for help and advice while they are recovering. The NHS was risking patients having to be readmitted as medical emergencies and hospital beds becoming even more scarce by failing to adhere to its own guidelines on discharge, it said. “While our findings show some positive examples, it’s alarming that guidance on safe discharge from the hospital is routinely not being followed,” said Louise Ansari, the patient champion’s chief executive. Healthwatch asked 583 people and their carers how their discharge had gone. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 19 November 2023
  7. Content Article
    New research from Healthwatch reveals worrying problems with hospital discharge arrangements. Many people told us they are not given the right support or information when being discharged from hospital. Read on about their experiences and Health Watch's calls to action.
  8. News Article
    A woman who spent nine months in hospital waiting for a suitable care home placement became a "shadow of her former self", her mother has said. Jocelyn Ullmer, 60, from West Sussex, saw her health deteriorate after being admitted to hospital in June last year. Her mother, Sylvia Hubbard, 86, said: "We tried to get her out of hospital, but no-one wanted her." Across England, around 60% of patients classed as fit to leave remain in hospital at the end of an average day. Figures show the biggest obstacle is a lack of beds in other settings, such as care homes and community hospitals. The government said it was investing £1.6bn over the next two years to help improve the situation. Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 November 2023
  9. Content Article
    'Gridlock' of patients in urgent and emergency care is often attributed to a lack of onward capacity for people leaving hospital, leading to delayed discharges that back up the system. But does this explanation often favoured by government and policy makers tell the whole story? The Nuffield Trust's Quality Watch investigates whether the pattern is visible in patient journeys through urgent and emergency care at the integrated care system level.
  10. Content Article
    Patient initiated follow up and remote clinical reviews show promise in alleviating capacity issues and ensuring timely care, with positive patient feedback and early intervention benefits Media interest regularly reports on the three headline performance measures of the NHS; 18-week target, cancer wait targets, and four hour waits in emergency departments. There is, however, another large group of patients that we do not have any targets for and receive no media attention, who Peter Towers, NHS service manager, has termed the “fourth group”. These are the patients who have started their treatment but cannot be discharged back to primary care as they require continued secondary outpatient care.
  11. Content Article
    Changing our services so that more care is provided in community settings and people can leave hospital when they are fit for discharge has been an explicit policy aim for decades. Other, similar countries have been on the same mission and have had more success. Why might this be? This new analysis from the Nuffield Trust looks internationally at how our performance compares and how other countries have succeeded in building up community health and care services to understand what England might learn.
  12. Content Article
    A report has been published by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) setting out the findings of a review of patient flow in Wales. Patient flow is the movement of patients through a healthcare system from the point of admission to the point of discharge. HIW specifically examined the journey of patients through the stroke pathway. This was to understand what is being done to mitigate any harm to those awaiting care, as well as to understand how the quality and safety of care is being maintained throughout the stroke pathway.
  13. Content Article
    Community hospitals play a very important role in supporting patients but, unlike with larger hospitals, little has been known until now about how they struggle with delayed discharges. Following a freedom of information request, the Nuffield Trust reveals the number of patients experiencing delays leaving community hospitals, and highlights the capacity challenges such hospitals face.
  14. News Article
    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. Read full story Source: Mail Online, 2 September 2023
  15. Content Article
    Delayed discharges, where a patient is medically fit to leave hospital but is not discharged, were a particular problem in England in the winter of 2022/23. In this article, Camille Oung from the Nuffield Trust highlights some possible solutions to help better prepare health and care services for discharge pressures next winter.
  16. News Article
    A trust has had to re-examine the cases of more than 31,000 patients after they were automatically and wrongly discharged from its care because they did not have another appointment within the next six months. Dartford and Gravesham Trust in Kent has revealed that soaring waiting times post-covid meant patients who needed follow-up appointments were not offered them within six months, which before covid was a very unusual occurrence. When they passed six months, they were dropped off waiting lists altogether, due to a feature in the trust’s patient administration system designed to ensure outdated pathways are closed. It is a common feature in many such systems, HSJ was told. The trust has now “validated” more than 31,000 patients who have been in contact with it since 1 September 2021. So far, it said, it had not found evidence of harm, although some people have been recalled for clinical review or investigation, and a small number are still to be seen. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 22 August 2023
  17. Content Article
    The eDischarge Information Record Standard was first published in 2015. Despite significant investment in programme initiatives, the widespread implementation of the standards has been slow.  In this report from the Professional Record Standard Body, authors identify the challenges that have inhibited the adoption of the standard, make recommendations for improvements and set out the anticipated benefits that this will bring. The aims of this discovery and user-design phase were: To review the current state of adoption of transfer of care messages between secondary care senders and primary care receivers of transfers of care and identify reasons for the low uptake to date. To understand GP’s needs and priorities for computer readable data that can be shared with primary care systems without loss of meaning. To make recommendations for what needs to happen to enable widespread adoption that supports the needs of GPs to deliver safer patient care.
  18. Content Article
    Successful day surgery requires a day surgery team with the correct knowledge and skills to enable safe, early recovery and discharge but there is an absence of national guidance on supporting competencies. Applying in-patient competency criteria is inappropriate as this pathway is not aimed at promoting early discharge. This joint publication between AfPP and BADS (the British Association Of Day Surgery) provides recommendations for core competencies for adult day surgery through (1) admission, (2) anaesthetic room, (3) theatres, (4) first-stage recovery and (5) second-stage recovery and discharge. They are relevant for staff new to or after a long absence from day surgery and acknowledge some members of the day surgery team may include non-registered practitioners. All can be used as a reference for workbook competency documents in place or in development.
  19. Content Article
    A key piece of guidance aiming to support hospital teams in their work to improve care of older people living with frailty is now available, in a collaboration between Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) and the British Geriatrics Society (BGS). The guidance is designed to accompany the new GIRFT Hospital Acute Care Frailty Pathway, and offers detailed measures teams should take to improve care and reduce hospital-acquired dependency for those living with frailty, as well as stressing that interventions should be monitored and linked more widely to community-based services.
  20. News Article
    A struggling trust has been warned by regulators that it could see its junior doctors removed, after concerns about clinical supervision and safety at a hospital whose A&E closes at night. NHS England inspectors who visited Cheltenham General Hospital found emergency patients – including potential surgical patients – became the responsibility of the overnight medical team when its accident and emergency closed in the evening. One night, 26 patients had been handed across, the inspectors were told, and some patients were felt to be inappropriate for medical referral. A surgical registrar could be telephoned at Gloucester Royal Hospital about surgical patients. They were told that although there were no incidents of serious harm, there had been many “near misses” and juniors felt “unsafe and unsupported in terms of consultant clinical supervision, overall clinical/nursing staffing support or logistically in managing patients in this setting or arranging transfers”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 7 July 2023
  21. News Article
    More than half of all serious incidents where patients came to harm involving West Midlands Ambulance Service were due to clinical errors. A trust audit found choking management, cardiac arrests and inappropriate patient discharges as themes. It also noted a decision to close all community ambulance stations was taken without first doing a full risk assessment of the impact on safety. After the number of serious incidents increased from 138 in 2021-22 to 327 in 2022-23, an audit by WMAS found 53% were due to mistakes with their treatment. A situation where a person comes to significant harm in care is identified as a serious clinical incident. Sources say the trust also delayed looking into 5,000 serious patient incidents. Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 June 2023
  22. News Article
    An independent review has raised concerns about a mental health trust’s reporting systems and has highlighted a significant number of patient deaths shortly after leaving the trust’s care, including almost 300 who died on the same day they were discharged. However, the review into how Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust collects, processes and reports mortality data made no conclusions on the number of avoidable deaths – the issue which had originally prompted the probe. Local NHS leaders argued the review’s purpose was focused on auditing the trust’s processes, and this had been delivered. But a local MP, Clive Lewis, accused it of “explicitly dodg[ing] the big questions”. The report, which looked at data from between April 2019 and October 2022, has however raised concerns about the number of patients dying soon after being discharged. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 28 June 2023
  23. Content Article
    This report examines the reporting of patient deaths at the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation NHS Trust (NSFT) between April 2019 and October 2022. It was undertaken by Grant Thornton on behalf of the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex and NHS Norfolk and Waveney integrated care boards at NSFT’s request.
  24. Content Article
    Over the two decades before the pandemic, the number of NHS patients admitted to hospital increased year-on-year, despite a reduction in the number of hospital beds. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, fewer patients have been admitted to NHS hospitals and length of stay has risen, raising questions about NHS productivity, quality of care and the prospects of meeting ambitions to recover services. This report by the Health Foundation analyses data around hospital admissions and suggests reasons for these trends.
  25. News Article
    Health ministers are to recruit a new volunteer army for social care to ferry medical equipment and drugs to people’s homes in a bid to free up congested hospital wards. Under the plan, members of the public will be able to sign up on the GoodSam app for roles such as “check in and chat”, which involves support over the phone for people struggling with loneliness. There will also be the chance to “pick up and deliver”, helping to transport medicines or small items of medical equipment to people’s homes from NHS sites so they can be discharged from hospital, and “community response” roles will involve collecting and delivering shopping and prescriptions. The joint NHS and social care volunteers responders programme for England is being launched on Wednesday amid a social care staffing crisis with 165,000 vacancies and millions of hours of care needs not being met. At the end of April, 49,000 people every day had to stay in NHS hospitals in England despite no longer meeting the criteria to be there. News of the planned announcement from the care minister, Helen Whately, has sparked concern among workers in the sector, who warned that volunteering could not solve the social care recruitment and retention crisis. Helen Wildbore, director of Care Rights UK, which represents relatives and residents, said it “feels like a desperate measure to try and save a system that is crumbling”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 6 June 2023
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