Essential facts, stats and quotes relating to patients being discharged from hospital, re-admissions and post-discharge services

Published on: 14th August 2015 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

This page contains facts, stats and quotes that LPC members may find useful when writing business cases or developing resources to support the commissioning of a post-discharge service.

This page is ‘work in progress’ and will continue to be updated with new facts, stats and quotes.

Facts, stats and quotes on other topics can be accessed on the Essential facts, stats and quotes page.

Patients being discharged from hospital

BMJ Open – New transfer of care initiative of electronic referral from hospital to community pharmacy in England: a formative service evaluation (August 2016)

  • Hospital pharmacy staff were able to use an information technology (IT) platform to improve the coordination of care for patients transitioning back home from hospital.
  • Those patients who received a community pharmacist follow-up consultation had statistically significant lower rates of readmissions and shorter hospital stays than those patients without a follow-up consultation.

Healthwatch – Safely Home: What happens people leave hospital and care setting (July 2015)

  • 18% of people who have been discharged from hospital in the last three years did not feel they received all the social care support they required after leaving hospital.
  • 14% did not know who to contact for further help following treatment, 18% of people felt their friend/relative did not know who to contact.
  • 1 in 8 (12%) did not feel they were able to cope in their own home after being discharged from hospital. 1 in 4 (24%) did not feel their friend/ relative were able to cope.
  • 1 in 5 (21%) did not feel they were fully involved in decisions concerning hospital treatment and planning discharge, and the same proportion (22%) felt their friend/relative was not fully involved as an equal partner. 
  • 1 in 4 (26%) people felt their friend/relative who had been discharged from hospital in the last three years did not receive the social care support they needed.
  • Responses received from 120 trusts indicate 1 in 3 do not ensure notes about new medication are properly recorded and passed on to GPs or carers.

Alam MF et al, Evaluation of the Discharge Medicines Review service (March 2014)

  • Unintended discrepancies in patients’ medicines after discharge from hospital affect up to 87% of patients, and medicines-related problems after hospital discharge are associated with potential and actual adverse health consequences, many of which are preventable.

NHS Digital, Hospital episode statistics, admitted patient care, England 2012/13 (November 2013)

  • Over a third of the 15.5 million people admitted to hospital last year were over the age of 65. Many had existing and complex medical conditions that require particular consideration and care in planning discharge and aftercare at home or in the community.

Care Quality Commission, National findings from the 2013 inpatients survey

  • In 2013 the Care Quality Commission survey found that 75% of patients (N = 62,400) said that a member of staff “completely” explained the purpose of medicines they were to take home in a way they could understand. However, only 39% said that a member of staff “completely” told them about the medicine side effects to watch out for when they went home.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Keeping patients safe when they transfer between care providers – getting the medicines right (June 2012)

  • 60% of older people have three or more medicines changed during their hospital stay.

  • Adverse drug events occur in up to 20% of patients after discharge. 
  • The likelihood that an elderly medical patient will be discharged on the same medicines that they were admitted on is less than 10%.

National Patient Safety Agency and National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Technical safety solutions, medicines reconciliation (December 2007)

  • It has been widely reported that between 30 and 70% of patients have either an error or unintentional change to their medicines when their care is transferred.

Re-admissions to hospital

National Audit Office, Emergency admissions to hospital: managing the demand (October 2013)

  • In 2012-13, 19% of emergency admissions were re-admissions.
  • In 2012-13 there were more than one million emergency re-admissions within 30 days of discharge, costing an estimated £2.4 billion.

Pirmohamed M, James S, Meakin S, Green C, Scott AK, Walley TJ, Farrar K, Park BK, Breckenridge AM. Adverse drug reactions as cause of admission to hospital: prospective analysis of 18,820 patients. BMJ 329: 15-19 (July 2004)

  • At least 6% of emergency re-admissions caused by adverse medicine reactions could potentially be avoided.

Post-discharge services

Elliott R et al. Department of Health Policy research programme project ‘Understanding and appraising the New Medicine Service in the NHS in England (August 2014)

  • Evidence from research into community pharmacy post-discharge medicines services has demonstrated significant increases in medicines adherence, leading to improved health outcomes for patients and fewer admissions and re-admissions to hospital.

Alam MF et al, Evaluation of the Discharge Medicines Review service (March 2014)

  • Post-discharge Medicines Use Reviews (DMRs or dMURs) by community pharmacists are available to those patients whose medicines have been changed while in hospital and have also demonstrated improved adherence; for every £1 spent by the health economy administering the scheme it avoids £3 of NHS resources being spent on A&E attendances, hospital admissions and drug wastage.

Department of Health, Pharmacy in England Building on strengths – delivering the future (April 2008)

  • Research has shown that providing people with a written summary of their discharge medicines and encouraging them to share this information with their community pharmacist can lead to a significant improvement in the continuity of medicines-related care.

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