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Call over emergency hospital trips

Published on 22 November 2013 02:00 PM

Action must be taken 'quickly' to stop a rise in the level of older people admitted to hospital as an emergency when it could be avoided, a watchdog has said.


The Care Quality Commission examined the figures and found preventable factors were behind 530,000 admissions of people aged over 65 in England in 2012.

An avoidable admission is one sparked by something that better care could have avoided, such as infections or dehydration. One-tenth of admissions relating to people older than 75 fall into this category, as well as a fifth of admissions of people aged over 90, the BBC reported.

The figures for 2012 are 40% higher than 2007/8, prompting David Behan, the Care Quality Commission's chief executive, to call for it to be sorted out 'quickly'.

He said older and more vulnerable people should be 'cared for in the way they deserve', adding that effective planning by GPs, hospitals, community services and carers was needed.

Admitted patients cost more

A separate report from the National Audit Office attaches an estimated £12 billion annual cost to emergency admissions for the NHS. Admitted patients cost more and take longer to deal with than those who can be adequately helped in casualty.

The Care Quality Commission's yearly State of Care review said it had done 35,000 inspections in 2012/13 and found some themes, such as patients with dementia having the worst outcomes.

There was evidence of poor care noted by inspectors in a tenth of hospitals and 50% of those cases had a major or moderate effect on patients, it said.

Healthwatch England is the patient watchdog and chair Anna Bradley said the report 'highlights some shocking statistics'.

The way the Care Quality Commission conducts inspections has been changed in major ways since these findings. It has brought in tougher checks and recruited 3 new chief inspectors for different areas.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director for Age UK, said: ‘The numbers of older people being admitted to hospital when with the right care they could stay at home is distressing and a sad consequence of a social care system that so often fails to help the people who need it.

‘Older people must be able to receive the treatment and care they need when they need it. However cuts to social care budgets has forced local authorities to increasingly restrict access to social care support leaving many older people to struggle on until they reach breaking point and have a serious health crisis or an accident and end up in hospital. This is not only morally wrong but makes no financial sense.

‘Sadly the NHS will struggle to cope with the increasing pressures brought on by lack of social care provision until the system is radically reformed and adequate funding available.'

Copyright Press Association 2013

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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