Sunday, 15 April 2012

Britain, no country for old men in hospital by day, is one where old men in England are sent home from hospital in the dead of night

A post I did last month was entitled :

Britain is a country whose hospital wards are no places for old men

I read article in the 'Daily Mail' this week, entitled :

Scandal of NHS patients sent home in the middle of the night to 'free up hospital beds'

  • Some 3.5 per cent of all hospital discharges took place between 11pm and 6am
It alluded to a survey of 100 of the 170 National Health Service Hospital Trusts in England dealing with the details of patients discharged between 11pm and 6am and made the following points :

239,233 patients had been sent home between those times last year, with hospital managers conceding that discharging patients this late at night or early in the morning could be an 'under the radar' way of freeing beds.

* if the other 70 trusts were discharging at similar rates, this would add up to 400,000 such discharges every year, almost 8,000 a week.

Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS, said:
"I am concerned to hear that some patients may be being discharged unnecessarily late. Patients should only be discharged when it's clinically appropriate, safe and convenient for them and their families. It is simply not fair to be sending people home late at night. We will look at this.'

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said she had heard reports of patients turfed out with no warning :
"Patients complain to us that they are sometimes not even given time to phone relatives to let them know what is happening."

A whistleblower, describing herself as a 'staff member', wrote about elderly patients being sent home 'in the middle of the night' from the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.
Writing on the 'Patient Opinion Website', where patients and medical staff write about good and bad experiences, she wrote: 

* 'A 94-year-old gentleman was sent home from hospital at 1am after being taken in earlier by ambulance with breathing problems. On arrival back at his flat it became clear that he could not get out of car without his wheelchair, that was locked in his flat on the 10th floor. The taxi driver refused to go and get it and a support officer from the building had to be called out.'

* 'An 80-year-old gentleman was sent home in the early hours of the morning after suffering chest pains. The staff of 'Accident and Emergency' felt it was appropriate to give the gentleman morphine and put him in a taxi with just a thin pair of pyjamas. The gentleman died several hours later of a heart attack.' ( Not the one in the photo )

The BBC report on the issue :

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