Press Release: Improved discharge helps A&E

“Shocking” lack of care for vulnerable people discharged unsafely from hospital has been highlighted this week by Healthwatch England.

Common basic failings identified in its report included hospitals not routinely asking patients if they have a home or safe place to be discharged to, details of new medications not being passed on to GPs and carers, and the failure to notify families when relatives were discharged.

The report – ‘Safely Home: what happens when people leave hospital and care settings? –covered the experience of more than 3,000 patients, either older, homeless or with mental health problems.

In October 2014 Healthwatch Brighton and Hove published ‘Leaving Royal Sussex County Hospital’. Its findings were included in ‘Safely Home’. The report revealed that only 38% of people asked felt safe and confident to leave hospital, while only 35% said their medication had been explained to a carer or themselves. The hospital discharge booklet, which explains what happens next and where to go for help and support after leaving, was scarcely used, and only 50% of those asked had received their discharge summary.

The report made 11 recommendations.

Since then, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) have worked hard to address these issues.

  • The Discharge booklet has been printed, and will be launched in ward areas over the next two weeks.
  • Additional staff have been recruited to allow assessments to take place quicker and allow more rehabilitative therapy to be completed before leaving hospital.
  • New leaflet dispenser and notice boards have been purchased to display a greater range of information to help people back at home, including self-help groups, community services, and general advice (eg. falls prevention).
  • ‘Discharge Hour’ has been reinstated. This means that medications are prepared 24 hours in advance, and early indications show that patient flow is improving as a result.
  • Hot water facilities have been re-instated in the toilet facilities of the discharge lounge.

Nevertheless, the number of people whose discharge is delayed remains stubbornly high. In many cases this is due to the complexity of the needs of people who need specialist housing or nursing care.

Nicky Cambridge, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Brighton and Hove said:

“A delay in discharging people affects the whole hospital. Recent data shows that Royal Sussex County has the second highest rate of A&E waiting times over 4 hours in England and some of this is due to waiting for a bed to be available in wards. A focus on the quality of discharge planning and investment improves patient experience and has an impact on the rest of the patients in hospital who are waiting for beds, so we are really pleased to hear of the progress since our visit.

However, delayed discharge does remain stubbornly high so Healthwatch B&H will continue to monitor discharge from the hospital. As ever, we urge patients and the public to get in touch about their experiences.”

If you would like to share your experience with Healthwatch Brighton and Hove call 01273 23 40 40, email: or click: to submit a comment online.


Notes to Editors:

About Healthwatch Brighton & Hove

  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove has legal rights to enter and view publicly funded health and adult social care settings and to be responded to within 20 days by the provider of health and adult social care services.
  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove is one of 148 Local Healthwatch organisations that feed into the national body Healthwatch England, set up in October 2012.
  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove has transitioned from Brighton and Hove Local Involvement Network (LINk).
  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove is funded by the Department of Health and commissioned through Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC), but is independent of the NHS and BHCC.
  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove is a Community Interest Company – its work centres around being beneficial to the communities of Brighton and Hove. It works with those who plan and run health and social care services asking questions about the way services are provided and suggesting improvements.
  • For further information about Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, please contact Magda Pasiut, Engagement and Communications Co-ordinator on


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