Vulnerable patients discharged home late at night

ots-ambulance queue formby dgh southport ots onthespot ots

Vulnerable patients discharged home late at night

Hundreds of thousands of patients are being sent home from hospital in the middle of the night despite a promise to limit the practice. During the past two years at least 300,000 people, many of them older, have been discharged between 11pm and 6am to relieve pressure on wards.

An investigation by The Times in 2012 revealed that patients were being woken and removed from their beds, even if they had no way of getting home. Some were left in night clothes, with no medication or paperwork, and in vulnerable or dangerous situations. At the time, health chiefs promised that patients would be moved at night only in exceptional circumstances, but new figures obtained under a freedom of information request show that the practice remains just as widespread. More than half of the NHS trusts that responded reported that the number of patients sent home at night had increased during the past three years. Almost 60,000 of the patients were over 75. The true number of patients discharged overnight is likely to be much higher because less than half of England’s 160 NHS trusts responded to the data request by Sky News.

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