Concern over hospital readmission rate

NEW figures show more than 1,000 patients have been readmitted to Ipswich hospital within seven days of being discharged in the first six months of this year.

NEW figures show more than 1,000 patients have been readmitted to Ipswich hospital within seven days of being discharged in the first six months of this year.

Health watchdogs are investigating the situation amid fears patients are being discharged too early in a bid to free up beds.

Statistics, obtained by The Evening Star under the Freedom of Information Act, show that for the first six months of this year a total of 1,032 patients were readmitted as a matter of emergency to the hospital within seven days of being discharged.

There is ongoing pressure for beds at Ipswich Hospital and the cash-strapped management is currently in the process of axing 71 beds to save money.

The Patient and Public Involvement Forum (PPI) for Ipswich Hospital is currently collating figures as part of an investigation to find out what is going on.

PPI spokeswoman Pru Rush, said patients being discharged too early is a problem that has been flagged up.

Most Read

She said: “This is not straightforward as there are a lot of complications and permutations with these discharges.

“We have some figures but we haven't yet finalised the correlations.

“Once we have it all worked out we will be going back to the hospital with our findings.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said the figures do not show if the reason for the emergency readmission was in any way related to the previous admission.

The spokeswoman added that in some instances parents may be told to return to hospital if they have any concerns about their child with any subsequent admission being recorded as an emergency, simply because it is not a planned admission.

n. Have you or a relative been discharged from hospital too soon? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The PPI's decision to investigate the figures comes in the wake of growing concerns and anecdotal evidence that patients are being rushed out of the hospital before they are well enough or have appropriate home care packages.

The hospital, which has made huge cutbacks to reduce multi-million pound debts, has said it will cooperate fully with the PPI's investigation.

On many occasions this year the Heath Road hospital has been so busy there have been few beds available for new patients.

In one case, 85-year-old Raymond Rowe, from Ipswich, was sent home in his pyjamas in a taxi at 2am.

He had originally been admitted with chest pains and breathlessness and his family were told he would probably be ready to go home the following day.

But instead Mr Rowe's stunned wife, 85, got a call from him at 2am saying he was on his way home.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter