Sheffield patients ‘leave hospital sooner’

Kevan Taylor
Kevan Taylor
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Patients are staying in hospital for less time in Sheffield – but the number of people readmitted within a month is up and spending on A&E has increased, a new report reveals.

A project called Right First Time was launched in the city two years ago to cut unnecessary hospital admissions and provide more care closer to people’s homes.

Now the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust’s board of directors has been given a progress update, detailing the scheme’s success so far.

The report, presented by the trust’s chief executive Kevan Taylor, says ‘preventable bed usage’ has been ‘declining steadily’ since 2012, and that patients are staying in hospital around one day less than last year.

But the document adds: “Emergency readmissions to hospital within 30 days of discharge have been increasing, the number of people admitted more than six times per year for a preventable cause has increased, and A&E attendance remains at a consistent level – and has done so for at least the last decade.”

More intermediate care beds – for patients who need time to rehabilitate after a spell in hospital – are being taken up, which is viewed as a positive development.

Last year just over 90 were used, compared with almost 170 as of February this year.

Meanwhile, community nurses are seeing 22,629 new patients, up 2,182 on last year. The rate of delayed discharges from hospital was ‘very high’ but has ‘improved significantly’.

But permanent residential care admissions are up and satisfaction levels among service users and carers are down.

Spending on ‘preventable causes of emergency hospital admission’ is down by £3 million, but total expenditure on emergency admissions has increased by £3.5 million.

Accounts from November indicated a ‘significant overspend’ of £4.2 million in adult social care, and A&E saw a £450,000 increase in spending.