Hospital makes improvements after worries over release of patients

The University Hospital of North Tees.
The University Hospital of North Tees.

Health and social care leaders have taken action to improve the release of patients from hospital in response to concerns by a Hartlepool watchdog.

Healthwatch Hartlepool made a number of recommendations to officials involved in the discharge process in February following an in-depth study which raised a number of worries.

A team is being developed that will provide intensive support

Hospital discharge action plan

They found some patients were waiting up to six hours longer than necessary to be released due to problems in the system.

Healthwatch recommended an urgent review to make care and support plans when patients are discharged simpler, saying existing processes were too fragmented and confusing.

An action plan says the local hospital trust will work with the council and clinical commissioning group to make communication with patients, families and carers a ‘defining principle’.

More co-ordinated computer technology and cross service communication was also recommended to make discharge happen more smoothly.

An action plan states: “A team is being developed that will provide intensive support in the ward area focused on embedding a more robust communication process between patients, family, carer, staff and external organisations.

“The aim is to empower patients, family and carers to monitor and challenge the standards of their own discharge, becoming an equal partner in the process.”

The plan also says options so that discharge can happen seven days a week will be explored by the trust.

During its study, Healthwatch had reports that some patients could not be discharged over a weekend.

A review of nursing home capacity for Hartlepool has also started after Healthwatch said a full review of demand for beds was needed.

Work is also being carried out into delays in dispensing medication to patients, resulting in some people staying longer than necessary in hospital.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Adult Services Committee is due to receive an update on the progress taken when it meets in the Civic Centre today.