Cumbria Crack

Hospital discharges put vulnerable patients at risk

Royal Lancaster Infirmary
Royal Lancaster Infirmary

[L]ocal MP Tim Farron has called for an inquiry into hospital procedures, following further revelations that vulnerable people are being discharged from hospital without appropriate care and travel arrangements being put in place.

Tim has repeatedly written to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to highlight cases of vulnerable individuals who have been discharged in the middle of the night without proper care. This week, Tim was alerted to yet another case like this.

An 83-year-old woman in poor health was discharged from RLI and “dumped” on her doorstep by a taxi at 2.20am. Her family had not been informed that she was due to return, and neither had any care arrangements been put in place. Luckily, her neighbour heard her struggling to get into the property, and came to her assistance.

Tim has written to the Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, as well as the Director of Governance, to ask them again to urgently review their procedures. Tim has also written to Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, calling for an inquiry into this issue.

Tim said: “It is utterly unacceptable that cases like this keep on happening. The safety of vulnerable and elderly patients is being put at risk as patients continue to be discharged without their family being informed, only to be left outside their houses in the middle of the night.

“I am calling for NHS England to undertake an inquiry into hospital discharge procedures, because I am concerned that this is happening across the country. Discharge procedures at hospitals urgently need to change so that patient safety is not put at risk.

“This case also highlights the urgent need for a more integrated approach to health and social care, as the Lib Dems have continually pushed for.”

Mary Aubrey, Director of Governance, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are concerned to hear that there have been concerns raised about the discharge of a patient from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. We are sincerely sorry for any distress caused and we are in contact with the patient regarding her discharge from hospital.

“As a Trust, we are committed to providing high quality and responsive care and services for all our patients; we take all concerns very seriously. I would like to reassure the public that all patients are assessed on a case by case basis to ensure they are medically fit before they are discharged.

“We are investigating this case so we can understand what happened and if there is anything we can learn from it to ensure that patients receive the highest level of care. We will continue to keep the patient updated directly.”

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