Report highlights half a million hospital admissions last year were unnecessary

December 6th 2013

More than half a million people aged 65 and over who were admitted to hospital as an emergency in the last year had conditions which probably meant that they didn’t necessarily need to be admitted or their health issue was avoidable.

In the recent State of Care report published by the Care Quality Commission it was revealed that one in every 10 emergency admissions for people over 75 and one in five for people aged 90 and over could have been avoided.

‘Avoidable’ conditions are those manageable, treatable or preventable in the community or could be caused by poor care or people not looking after themselves, such as bone fractures or poor nutrition.

Dr Johnny Marshall, director of policy at the NHS Confederation,  responded to the report by saying the NHS needed to work with its partners to keep avoidable admissions to a minimum and that the way to achieve this was through a whole system approach involving commissioners and both healthcare and social care providers.

He said: “We are keen to see a shift in the balance of health services delivered outside of hospitals. With the right services in place in the community and primary care sectors, as well as the right level of social care support, many frail older people will not require hospital-based care at all, let alone emergency admission.”

The report also revealed that people with dementia continued to have poorer outcomes in hospital, that hospital inspectors found poor care in around one in 10 of all hospital inspections and that there has been no overall improvement in the NHS in treating people with dignity and respect.

Caroline Roberts, director of quality and governance at Care UK, said: “This report provides a great deal of food for thought. Hospital is not always the right place for someone, especially if they have dementia. We need to streamline the processes involved in supporting people in this situation to remain safely in their own homes, perhaps through homecare. 

“In more severe cases, the alternative might be a temporary stay in a nursing home so they can get back on their feet and ready to return to their own homes, which, after all, is what most people want. Nursing homes are a far more cost effective, patient friendly solution than a bed in a hospital – especially if the team providing the care is able to help with rehabilitation.”