Cast Out of Hospital in the Middle of the Night
We have all had relatives, young or old and certainly vulnerable, being treated in NHS hospitals.
Despite the negative stories that arise from time to time, my experience has been mostly very good. Nurses have been helpful, doctors informative but the day that patients are discharged has almost always been the most stressful of the entire experience.
First, you have to wait to see the doctor, no, nobody knows when said doctor will be coming. Hours pass. Then there are the drugs you need from the pharmacy once the doctor turns up and prescribes them. And all the while the hospital car park machine is gobbling up pound coins at an alarming rate.
My finest experience came when, after waiting hours for a doctor who never turned up, my small daughter was sent home with no post operative advice and then we discovered, as rain pelted down, that the car had actually broken down in the car park.
Now we hear from The Times via their Freedom of Information requests to all of England’s 170 NHS hospital trusts that thousands upon thousands of recovering and anxious patients are being discharged from hospital between the hours of 11pm and 6am.
The Times reckons that 239,233 patients have been sent home in the middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning from answers arriving from 100 trusts. Add another 70 trusts and the figures would doubtless escalate alarmingly.
The newspaper investigation found that a number of trusts discharge more than 7% of their patients between 11pm and 6am.
This is truly dreadful. There may be pressure on beds and NHS resources but when did the milk of human kindness run dry?
It’s bad enough flinging patients out at midnight if they have a family to look after them but imagine an elderly patient sent back to a cold, empty home with no food in the fridge.
In the midst of all the talk of NHS reform, you can’t help wondering exactly who is responsible for this practice of chucking patients out and casting them adrift at an hour when most of us are tucked up in bed.
Do you think this is acceptable? Tel us at Women Talking…