Inquiry on hospital discharge in Bucks presents its findings

A new inquiry report has set out recommendations for how hospital discharge times in Buckinghamshire can be improved through a number of measures including closer joint working between health and social care teams and better sharing of information with patients and their families.

At a meetinglast week (March 14)of Buckinghamshire County Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee, the committee’s specially appointed inquiry team presented a report of their investigation into the hospital discharge process in Bucks,together with theirrecommendations on howit might be improved.

Not only do delayed discharges reduce the quality of the service for patients themselves, but they put pressure on the whole healthcare system by using up hospital beds that are needed for other patients.

The investigation found that existing good practice in joint working between health and social care serviceswasa strongbasis for further improving the discharge process,also providing an opportunity to involve patients themselves and their families more in decisions regarding their care.

Cllr Brian Roberts, Chairman ofthe inquiry group and the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee said: “our inquiry group has been most impressed by the dedication and professionalism of those we have worked with across health and adult social care during our investigation, and their shared determination to make the hospital discharge process in Bucks as positive an experience for patients as possible.

“This is a complex area and there are no simple solutions, but we hope that this report will offer positive ways forward so that the teams involved can work more closely together and with patients to improve the discharge process.”

The report has now gone to the organisations involved in the discharge process for their response, and the report together with their responses will go before Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet in April.