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Xmas efficiency call for hospitals

Hospitals would save money, help patients and free up beds if they discharged patients throughout the year as efficiently as they do in the run up to Christmas, according to a consumer watchdog.

Analysis by Healthwatch England found that around 6,000 fewer patients would experience delays if the NHS and care services put the same focus on discharge planning all year as they do for the festive period.

It also estimated that £14 million could be saved and over 50,000 bed days - when a patient spends a night in a bed - would be freed.

Figures from NHS England showed the number of delayed discharges fell 13% between November and December last year, with the run up to Christmas consistently recording the lowest number of hold ups over the last five years.

Anna Bradley, chairwoman of Healthwatch England, said: " It's great to see doctors, nurses and care workers all striving to give their patients what they want most at Christmas time, which is to be at home with their family and friends.

"But this shouldn't just be a Christmas tradition. We want to see staff working with patients to start planning how and when they are going to leave hospital from the moment they arrive.

"The numbers show that it's possible, and long term would free up beds, save money and ensure thousands of patients aren't left frustrated and stuck in hospital waiting to leave."

Healthwatch England added that hospitals must ensure everyone is discharged safely and with the right support to avoid a spike in readmissions early in the New Year.


From Belfast Telegraph