NHS needs to do more to understand why people are returning to hospital after being discharged

October 26, 2017

From Healthwatch England

  • New analysis shows emergency readmissions rose by a fifth since 2012/13
  • Over 500,000 cases recorded in 2016/17
  • 1 in every 5 emergency readmissions take place in the first 48 hours

As part of a broader investigation into people’s experiences of leaving hospital, Healthwatch England has published new analysis of NHS emergency readmissions data.
An emergency readmission is defined by the NHS as anyone who has to return to hospital for unplanned further treatment within 30 days of having left. This covers unforeseen readmissions, such as people receiving chemotherapy having to be readmitted because of side effects. It also covers cases where people have been discharged too early or without the right social care support in place.
When Healthwatch went looking into the data to see what it could tell us about people’s experiences of being discharge from hospital we found that no complete national dataset has been published on this since December 2013.
Healthwatch England asked hospital trusts across England for a day-by-day breakdown of their emergency readmissions data for each of the last five financial years and found the following:

  • In 2016/17 there were 529,318 emergency readmissions reported by 84 hospital trusts
  • Between 2012/13 – 2016/17 the number of emergency readmissions rose by 22.8% (compared with a 9.3% rise in overall admissions)
  • The numbers of emergency readmissions within 24 hours rose even faster with a 29.2% increase
  • The number readmitted within 48 hours account for 1 in 5 of the overall total (21.6%)

Although the number of people experiencing an emergency readmission is comparatively small when we consider the huge numbers of hospital inpatients treated each year, it is important to remember the impact it has on people when discharge processes don’t go according to plan. In our 2015 report ‘Safely home’ and our updated briefing, published in early October, we heard from thousands of people who told us how incredibly distressing it had been for them and their families when they didn’t get the support they needed to help them after leaving hospital.
Reducing inappropriate emergency readmissions also needs to be a priority for the health and care sector, as each case adds additional burden to system which is struggling to free up beds.
Healthwatch is therefore calling for emergency readmissions data to be used alongside other more widely used datasets, such as delayed transfers of care (DTOC), to establish a broader understanding of how well health and social care services are doing in getting people out of hospital safely.

Read the full report at: http://www.healthwatch.co.uk/news/nhs-needs-do-more-understand-why-people-are-returning-hospital-after-being-discharged

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *