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23
Jan

Emergency readmissions data back on the agenda


NHS Digital has confirmed it is reviewing emergency readmissions indicators across the frameworks which will result in the publication of new data in March 2019. 

 

A longer-term review is also ongoing around issues concerning methodology, consistency of classification, definitions and presentation of data. Contributions and feedback to this review are invited via email to [email protected] with a deadline of February 15.

 

Many of these indicators have not been published since 2014. However, continued pressure and concerns have been expressed by organisations including Healthwatch England, the Care Quality Commission, British Red Cross, National Audit Office and QualityWatch.

 

In October 2017 Healthwatch England published a briefing. ‘What do the numbers say about emergency readmissions’ identified that the number of people being readmitted to hospital within 30 days of discharge had grown by 22.8% over the previous years, with one in five returning within just 48 hours. In November last year a second review found that readmission rates had continued to grow and a faster rate than before – increasing by 9% over the last 12 months.

 

Healthwatch England has urged better data is needed to understand where changes in care are working well for patients so this can be replicated across the NHS and likewise underlying problems can be identified and addressed. An issue it finds particularly worrying at the moment is that the NHS cannot report on how many emergency readmissions were unavoidable and which could be prevented and therefore cannot use this insight from which to learn.

 

Concerns that a focus on reducing Delayed Transfers of Care (DToC) might result in patients being discharged unsafely have been ruled out. Healthwatch England says its data shows no correlation between DToC reductions and rising emergency readmissions.

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