Caution urged on readmission plans

Published on Thursday, 17 February 2011 10:55
Posted by Scott Buckler

A new NHS Confederation briefing has warned that government plans to cut the numbers of readmissions need to be introduced with sensitivity if they are not to prove expensive and damaging to patient care



patient in hospital

The briefing sets out the findings from research carried out by healthcare intelligence firm, CHKS, and published by the NHS Confederation and Foundation Trust Network. The research has found that recently announced system to impose financial penalties on acute trusts that readmit patients within 30 days could cost hospitals millions and have serious unintended consequences for patients.

Exclusion areas

The report identifies a number of areas where a rigid readmissions policy is unlikely to work and says if they were excluded from the policy the cost to the NHS could be reduced to around £490 million a year. The Government has already moved to lessen the impact of the measures but the proposed plans could still cost hospitals as much as £800 million a year.

Destabilise NHS services

Nigel Edwards, acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Unplanned readmissions are not good for patients or their families who want treatment to be right first time. However, the CHKS data shows that only half of readmissions are related to the original admission and also that the majority of emergency readmissions are amongst the elderly who often have multiple conditions. “

Sue Slipman, director of the Foundation Trust Network, said:  “Nearly every part of the NHS is going through radical change at the moment, and there is a danger that this penalty scheme could unnecessarily destabilise some NHS services."

Source: ©NHS Confederations

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