MPs Call for NHS Bosses to be Tougher on Discharging

The hierarchy of the NHS in England has been accused by MPs of failing to be strict enough on an important area affecting mental health.

NHS bosses have been slack in tackling delays regarding medically fit patients being discharged from hospital, according to the Public Accounts Committee.

Commenting on the subject, the committee indicated that NHS England must make more effort to support hospitals in this critical area of patient well-being.

MPs suggested that officials are too ready to rely on excuses regarding care services run by councils, and indicated that there is considerable room for improvement in the way that this system operates.

And the politicians overseeing the issue also promised extra funding in order to address the issue.

Reporting from the committee comes hot on the heels of delays in discharges reaching record levels according to official figures.

It is often the case that community support services such as district nursing, carers or care home places, cannot be found for vulnerable patients.

The elderly have been particularly badly affected by this issue.

A recent report released by the National Audit Office estimated that delays are costing the NHS over £800 million annually, following a rise in the number of delays by over one-third in the past two years.

To put the figure into perspective, it is estimated that care in the community for such patients would cost under £200 million.

This is particularly detrimental for patients, the risk of infection escalates in older people affected by such delays during extended stays.

And the National Audit Office has even suggested that the worrying figures should be considered an underestimate, owing to the fact that the NHS measures delays only from the point patients are deemed ready for discharge.

The report instead indicates that delays waiting for this figure to be recorded, or in other procedures during stays in hospital, could extend delays further still.

This cross-party report urges NHS England is to do more to address the situation, suggesting that the organisation has shown what the MPs described as a “striking poverty of ambition”.

Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee, asserted that “blaming local circumstances for poor performance short-changes patients and is an unacceptable cop-out.”

In response to the report, a spokesman for the Department of Health outlined some of the investments in these services which have already been agreed and set aside.

“Local authorities will have more money – up to £3.5bn extra – for adult social care by 2019-20 and by 2020 we will be investing an extra £10bn a year so the NHS can introduce its own plan for the future and help fewer people go to hospital in the first place.”

 

Post a Comment