5 August 2019

New analysis from Scottish Labour suggests that the number of people being readmitted to hospital following a recent discharge, has increased.

Scottish Labour has revealed there were 104,359 emergency readmissions in Scotland during 2017/18, marking an increase of an additional 2,775 emergency readmissions since 2015/16.

This proportion of patients being readmitted to hospital after being recently discharged accounts for one in five (21 per cent) of all emergency admissions - by comparison, the rate of emergency readmissions in England for the same period was closer to one in ten (13.8 per cent).

An emergency readmission in Scotland is an emergency admission that occurs within 28 days of a patient being discharged from hospital.

Almost half of the emergency readmissions in Scotland were for people aged over 65.

Scottish Labour said the revelations raised serious questions over whether NHS staff have the resources to cope and whether patients are receiving appropriate care when they are discharged from hospital.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson, Monica Lennon has said Scottish Ministers have been left with questions to answer about their delivery of the integration of health and social care, and called on the SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to explain why emergency readmissions are not reducing.

Labour has now called on the Scottish Government to start regularly publishing information on the readmission rate and the causes of these 'failed discharges'.

Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon said:

“Reducing emergency hospital admissions is a key aim of the Scottish Government’s health and social care reforms so it is worrying that the rate of emergency readmissions actually increasing.

“People being rushed back to hospital unexpectedly can arise due to unforeseen medical reasons but with half of emergency readmissions affecting people aged over 65, concerns about social care must be addressed.

"The Scottish Government must provide reassurance that people are receiving appropriate care before and after they leave hospital.

"I’ve written to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman asking her to explain what is causing emergency readmissions, particularly in older people, and when we can expect health and social care integration reform to deliver better outcomes.”

“Failed discharges from hospital are costly, time-consuming and can be extremely distressing for patients.

"To understand how improvements can be made we need to start collecting data on what is causing such a high rate of readmission.

“Scottish Labour would make improving social care and reducing the number of people going in and out of hospital a priority.”
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