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Hospitals should end 'potentially dangerous' night discharges, MPs say

MPs have said that Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt must set out plans to stops hospitals discharging patients in the middle of the night unless patients want to go home.

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) said mid night discharges between 11pm to 6am are "potentially dangerous" for patients. It called on Jeremy Hunt to take some actions on midnight discharges.

In May, the PACAC was reacting to a report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), which described how weak and aged patients are being discharged from hospitals while they are still sick or incapable to cope.

In 2015, the PHSO saw an increase of 36% in discharge-related investigations. It found some deaths and incidents of suffering could have been prevented if the hospitals carried out the correct checks of patients before discharging them.

Bernard Jenkin., chairman of the PACAC said hospital staff seem to have pressure to discharge the patients before it is safe to do so. Hospital Administration must assure their staff that organisational forces never take priority over person-centred care. Every staff needs to feel a level of trust and directness that allows them to raise anxieties about unsafe discharge."

The figures released in August disclosed that delays in discharging of fit patients have risen 23% since June last year.

Chief executive of the charity Independent Age, Janet Morrison said the report shows the damning picture of the management of hospital discharge across many part of the NHS. They are regularly considering record of patients being kept in hospital needlessly because proper care services have not been put in place.

A spokeswoman for Department of Health said that patients should only be discharged from hospitals when it’s clinically suitable and safe for the patients and their families. The best way to make sure that is to significantly integrate health and social care.

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