Over 220 complaints regarding premature patient discharge were investigated by the ombudsman in 2015, with over half being fully or partially upheld.
The NHS watchdog that reported the figures also confirmed that 6,286 complaints regarding similar issues were received across the NHS.
The report has generated much comment across the health and care sectors, with senior figures from the NHS and other national health bodies quick to call for a resolution to what the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) described as “serious concerns and gaps in care”.
Personal accounts regarding individual cases featured heavily in the report, including testimony regarding incidence of both premature, un-coordinated hospital release and overstays as a result of disagreements over care funding among professional bodies.
Phil McCarvill, deputy director of policy at the NHS Confederation, commented: “This should trigger an important public conversation about when it’s most appropriate to discharge patients so that the process is as safe and dignified as it can be.”
“Poor planning, coordination and communication between hospital staff and between health and social care services are failing patients, compromising their safety and dignity… Health and social care is in an incredibly difficult place, with demand increasingly outstripping resources.”
Prof Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: “It’s more important than ever to ensure person-centred care when someone is admitted to hospital, with health and social care practitioners working together from the time that the patient is admitted, and even before that if possible.”
Fiona Lowry, our CEO, said: “This report sets out the importance of a detailed care plan and expert assistance in order to maintain the wellbeing and dignity of loved ones following a hospital admission. At The Good Care Group, our carers receive extensive training to help them obtain a greater knowledge of practical and medical practice relating to specific medical conditions. Our in-depth research has led the way in guiding policy and care standards relating to situations regularly faced by older people, most notably in the fields of dementia care and falls prevention. As medical mobility-related needs change over time, we can adapt the home environment to meet new requirements, providing safety and comfort for our clients, as well as peace of mind for their friends and family.”