Worcester News Article – 6th September

We have now published our Report based on the experiences of 142 patients and their family and friends, who were discharged from Worcestershire hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that the pandemic has had a huge impact on NHS and social care services, and that staff are working hard to do their best for patients during these challenging times. However, people have told us of some of the issues they experienced when leaving hospital.

Patients did not always feel prepared to leave hospital. A third of people who replied to our Survey experienced waits of over 4hrs between being told they would be discharged and leaving hospital. The two main reasons for patients waiting at both Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital were waiting for transport and waiting for medication. The information provided in discharge forms and letters varied, and half of the patients who completed our Survey were not given information about who to contact if they needed support after leaving hospital.

Family and friends told us that it could be difficult to be kept up to date when their loved one was an inpatient, and that they were not always informed or involved in plans for their discharge. This was particularly difficult for people when they are unable to visit hospitals in person. People who are caring for their loved ones at home didn’t always feel that their caring responsibilities were taken into account.

Our work shows how important good communication with patients and their families is, and that hospitals need to understand people’s circumstances at home so that they receive the help and support that they need when they leave hospital.

We have made a number of recommendations in our Report which we think will improve hospital discharge for patients, carers and their families. We look forward to the response from NHS and social care services locally, and to working alongside them to improve people’s experience of leaving hospital in Worcestershire.

We will be discussing the findings of the Report at our next Public Board Meeting on Thursday 16th September at 10am via Zoom. Everyone is welcome to join us. Further information and joining instructions will be on our website before the meeting, where you can also read the Report in full – www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk