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Emergency Hospital Readmissions Rise Despite Being Preventable

Research from the Nuffield Trust has shown that increasing numbers of patients are finding themselves readmitted to hospital in England with conditions that are preventable, such as pressure sores and pneumonia.

The Trust said that these conditions could be prevented with better care both in hospital and upon returning home.  Over the past seven years, emergency readmissions occurring within 30 days of the patient being discharged have risen by one fifth.

The government, after stating that people should not have to ‘endure’ unnecessary trips to hospital, has committed to a long-term funding plan, to help the NHS to manage the increase in patient demand.

It was found that last year, around 1% of emergency readmissions were preventable; this amounted to 185,000 patients being affected by these.  

During 2010/11, 41,003 patients were readmitted to hospital in an emergency situation with pneumonia. During 2016/17 this figure significantly rose to 70,731. The figures for emergency pressure sores readmission practically trebled to 22,448 and patients who were readmitted with blood clots in veins increased by one third, reaching 23,006. The Trust discovered that the reasons for these readmissions was because they were not diagnosed during the patients’ first visit to hospital. Had they been, then readmissions could have been prevented.

Questions have been raised from the figures as to why patients were discharged, the quality of care received by patients in hospitals and also the quality of both social and community care services.

Director of Research at the Nuffield Trust, Professor John Appleby, said “Unnecessary trips and overnight stays in hospital put a strain on elderly patients and their families. That is why it’s concerning that our research shows the number of people being readmitted to hospital within 30 days with potentially preventable conditions is greater than it was seven years ago.”

Jessica Morris, who works as Research Author and Analyst at the Nuffield Trust advised that health providers should now be focusing their attentions on the three conditions which are causing the most readmissions. She said these admissions are “potentially a warning sign that a patient’s quality of care may have been compromised.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said, “We expect the NHS to work closely with local authorities to ensure people are treated in the most suitable setting and when they are discharged from hospital they have a care plan in place.”



BBC News Online. ‘Rise in ‘Preventable’ Emergency Readmissions to Hospital.’ BBC News Online.  


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