2012 is likely to be grim: the economy is in tatters, NHS patients are suffering delays and cuts and access to justice for ordinary people is under attack. So it is time for some good news and I am pleased to be able to pass on a tip as to how the government can save money and patients can get discharged from hospitals.
I have Mike Farrer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, to thank for this tip. He tells us that a quarter of patients could be better looked after by being discharged from hospital and looked after at home or in the community. Discharging them could save enormous amounts of money and make patients happy at the same time. Most are desperate to go home. However hospitals are fixated on an outdated model of care. As a result too many patients stay in hospital for too long.
Of course we need to be careful here. Many elderly people are stuck in hospital because local authorities are reluctant to pay for support when they are discharged. Savings to hospital budgets may lead to increases in funding elsewhere. But hospital care is by far the most expensive way to provide care and people who can be discharged it is not the best.
So dispel a bit of winter gloom and take my new year’s tip. In the post-Christmas sales here is a ‘Three for the Price of One’ offer no government should ignore. Save the NHS money, improve patient care and make people happy. In fact any one of the three would be a novelty.Paul Sankey is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email email@example.com and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.