And here is Lansley popping up again, this time with a plan to financially penalise hospitals if patients are readmitted for emergency treatment within 30 days of discharge.
Sounds good. The only problem being that a significant Department of Health report in 2008 noted there was a ‘very weak and statistically insignificant’ correlation between shorter hospital stays and rising emergency readmissions. Indeed, it notes that only 25% of readmissions are typically for the same reason as the original admission – something that hasn’t changed for many years.
So where Lansley says that the culture of central government targets results in hospitals sending people home early, he instead advocates, erm, financial penalties imposed by central government that are likely to encourage doctors keeping patients in hospital longer.