NGH discharge times among worst in NHS

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Northampton General Hospital has among the most bed spaces wasted by long-staying patients in the country, a new report says.

The Dr Foster organisation’s Hospital Guide 2012 says more than 18 per cent of total bed days are taken up by over-staying patients, with only four hospitals worse in England.

The Dr Foster report said this was bad for both patients, who are delayed from going home, and the hospital itself.

It says: “Hospitals working at high levels of efficiency will not keep patients in hospital longer than is necessary, allowing the beds to be used by additional patients.”

Dr Sonia Swart, NGH medical director, said the hospital’s use of rehabilitation beds was part of the explanation for the figures as well as its difficulty in discharging patients from hospital when they are medically fit but still need other care.

Dr Foster said NGH was also in the worst five hospitals for cancelling planned operations.

Dr Swart said an increasing number of emergency admissions was to blame, with many cancellations happening on the day of the surgery.

Elsewhere in the guide, NGH’s death rates are now rated as normal after inaccuracies in medical notes were rectified during the last 12 months.

It was also praised for its advanced gall bladder keyhole surgery and for low re-admission rates after knee replacements.