A recent NHS Ombudsman report has revealed that patients are being sent home with very little support after being discharged from hospital, leaving them afraid and vulnerable and causing patient safety to be seriously compromised.

The report has shown that patients are experiencing traumatic ordeals when leaving hospital, due to poor planning and communication between service areas.

With 211 complaints of this nature made in one year, the NHS has promised improvement, saying that the findings of this report will be taken seriously.

The issues highlighted in the report included:

  • Patients not being assessed properly before discharge from hospital, or being discharged before they were clinically ready
  • Patients being discharged without a home care plan in place
  • Poor co-ordination of services leading to patients being kept in hospital unnecessarily
  • Relatives and carers not being told that their loved one has been discharged

The investigation has highlighted some incredibly sad examples of lack of appropriate care, which could have potentially been prevented. These include a patient in her late 90s who sadly passed in her granddaughter’s arms shortly after being sent home from hospital in an ambulance, without being examined properly. Another elderly patient was transferred to a nursing home in a “dishevelled state” with a cannula still in arm, and another patient’s family complained that their mother had been left in her home unable to care for herself with no food, drink, bedding and was unable to get herself to the bathroom.

Julie Mellor, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), said: “Health and social care leaders must work harder to uncover why 10 years of guidance to prevent unsafe discharge is not being followed, causing misery and distress for patients, families and carers.”

Here at Farleys, our clinical negligence department deal with sad instances of this unacceptable treatment of vulnerable patients on a regular basis. We have a dedicated team of medical negligence lawyers who work tirelessly to achieve justice for our clients who have been badly let down by their health service. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog.