Commenting on a report released today by the Nuffield Trust which shows the number of patients being readmitted to hospital in an emergency with potentially preventable conditions has grown significantly in the last seven years, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“This report truly highlights the problems faced by acute hospitals in that in order to admit the unstable and unassessed, we are having to press harder and harder to discharge patients with the inevitable consequences of readmissions.
“This really hits the frailest who are at risk. Some of the figures are disturbing and could be indicative of hard-pressed staff not able to deliver the care they would like to give – this relates in particular to the pressure sore data.
“Sometimes we have to acknowledge that we need to keep patients in hospitals longer than we would hope to give them a chance to recuperate enough not to need a readmission.
“This is where community care should be picking up the load and really we would ideally rethink the now almost total lack of community beds.
“Each readmission is a tragedy for the individual concerned in that it further puts them at risk of declining health in a downward spiral and, in my view, is often a consequence of units and individuals being totally overstretched by demands on them.”