Emergency readmissions increase

Tuesday 6th August 2019

Figures obtained by Scottish Labour suggests the number of people being readmitted to hospital following a recent discharge has increased.

The response to a freedom of information request submitted by the opposition party shows there were 104,359 emergency readmissions in Scotland in 2017-18, an increase of 2,775 from 2015-16 figures, with nearly half relating to people aged 65 or over.

Around one in five emergency admissions – 21% – in Scotland involve patients recently discharged from hospital, while in England emergency readmissions stood at 13.8% over the same period.

An emergency readmission occurs if an individual is readmitted urgently without prior planning within 28 days of being discharged from hospital.

Scottish Labour said the figures ‘raised serious questions over whether NHS staff have the resources to cope and whether patients are receiving appropriate care when they are discharged from hospital’.

Calling on Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to explain why there had not been a decrease in emergency readmissions, Labour’s health spokesperson, Monica Lennon, said:

Reducing emergency hospital admissions is a key aim of the Scottish Government’s health and social care reforms so it is worrying that the rate of emergency readmissions is actually increasing

People being rushed back to hospital unexpectedly can arise due to unforeseen medical reasons but with half of emergency readmissions affecting people aged over 65, concerns about social care must be addressed.

"The Scottish Government must provide reassurance that people are receiving appropriate care before and after they leave hospital. I’ve written to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman asking her to explain what is causing emergency readmissions, particularly in older people, and when we can expect health and social care integration reform to deliver better outcomes.”

Failed discharges from hospital are costly, time-consuming and can be extremely distressing for patients. To understand how improvements can be made we need to start collecting data on what is causing such a high rate of readmission.”