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Patients need proper back-up

THE British Red Cross shares the concerns over the practice of discharging patients from hospital at night.

We know that being discharged without any support network can lead not only to re-admission, but also to a long-term decline in independence. The other side of the story is that many older patients remain in their hospital beds past the stage of needing significant clinical assistance.

In many hospitals, voluntary organisations like the British Red Cross are already helping patients to return safely home. We have evidence that this basic support can go a long way towards building confidence and well-being.

We second the Patients' Association assertion that "patients need to be treated with care, compassion and dignity". We hope investigations of this sort will eventually lead to better supported discharge and recognition of the crucial role of the voluntary sector in providing this care.

MIKE ADAMSON

Managing director, British Red Cross

Belfast Telegraph

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