Emergency readmissions to hospital hit record high

Hundreds of thousands of patients were readmitted to hospital as an emergency last year within 30 days of being discharged.

There were 865,625 emergency readmissions in 2017/18, the highest figure recorded to date, up from 756,020 in 2013/14.

The provisional data from NHS Digital looks at emergency readmissions for hospitals in England between 2013/14 and 2017/18.

It shows that emergency readmissions nationally have increased from 12.5% of all admissions in 2013/14 to 13.8% in 2017/18.

The data excludes admissions for cancer and obstetrics.

Dr Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “These figures show the impact that a lack of beds and social care is having on emergency departments.

“Many patients have to be unnecessarily readmitted as they do not have the assistance they need to look after themselves after they have been discharged.

“The Government must publish its green paper as a matter of urgency.

“Hospital bed numbers have been cut every year, despite the fact that each year there are more patients needing to be admitted, which means there is ever greater pressure to free up beds.

“It is possible that the lack of beds means that some patients may be discharged too soon.”