Peterborough patients ‘lacked support’ after leaving hospital during coronavirus, report states

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The way people are discharged from hospital across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough should work better for patients, according to health and care champion Healthwatch.

In a new report highlighting people’s experiences of leaving hospital during the coronavirus pandemic, Healthwatch Peterborough says some local patients did not have the support, equipment and essential information they needed when they got home.

The ‘Leaving hospital during Covid-19’ report highlights the experiences of 35 patients leaving Peterborough City Hospital, Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon between June and August.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The independent health and care champion’s report recommends changes to the complicated discharge system, which brings together various health and care services.

Peterborough City HospitalPeterborough City Hospital
Peterborough City Hospital

And now, local hospitals and care services are taking on board the learning to help improve information and support for patients and their families.

In March this year, a new national approach to discharging patients was set up in the wake of coronavirus - aiming to free up hospital beds.

It saw people leave hospital faster by having their ongoing care needs assessed at home.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Healthwatch report shows that in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough it worked well for some patients, but for others it has been a poor experience, leaving patients lacking support and equipment.

Key findings

The local Healthwatch report found:

. Around one in five patients were not told they would get support from health or social care after leaving hospital

. Nearly two in three people were not given information about who to contact if they needed health advice or support after leaving hospital

. Only one in five people were given information about voluntary sector support which could help them after they left hospital

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

. Three in four people said they definitely felt prepared to leave hospital or felt prepared to leave to some extent

. Nearly three in four people discussed where they were being discharged to and went to the place they wanted to go to

. Most people were positive about the care put in place

. Just over one in three people said they waited more than 24 hours to be discharged from hospital

. The main reason for people waiting longer was due to transport arrangements although some people experienced multiple reasons for delay

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

. Some patients felt they did not have suitable equipment for use at home or knew how to use it correctly.

Healthwatch said the findings underline other patient feedback highlighting the need for better communication between health and care services and patients and their families.

The organisation believes that patients should be given:

. A simple information sheet including contact numbers for when they get home

. Clear medication information and instructions that can be given to family/carers, especially if changes have been made at hospital

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

. A single point of contact – shared with family/carers - if their health deteriorates or they are unable to cope at home. This is especially important given the high number of discharges over the weekend when other services are less easily available

. Written details of voluntary organisations offering local support.

It added that hospitals, health and care services should:

. Clarify discharge “pathways” for patients depending on their needs and provide frontline staff with guidance and information

. Link community pharmacists into post-discharge community assessments

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

. Make sure there is enough community support for patients going home

. Improve access to equipment and supporting information and ensure adequate volume is commissioned

. Ensure equipment is suitable for space within people’s homes.

Healthwatch CEO Sandie Smith said: “Hospital discharge is complicated because it involves lots of different people, from across different services, to make it happen.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Inevitably, that means that leaving hospital and getting home does not always run smoothly.

“While we’re pleased to hear that some people have had better experiences during the pandemic than previously, we think steps could be taken to help improve the process for everyone across our area.

“We want to make sure that patients, families and carers have what they need to look after themselves or loved ones, including information about who to contact if their health deteriorates or if they are not able to cope at home.

“And from the responses to our report I am confident that local authorities and hospital trusts will be taking on board the learning and the experiences shared to improve things for patients and their families.”

Quotes from patients leaving Peterborough City Hospital

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The daughter of one elderly patient at Peterborough City Hospital told Healthwatch that while she understood the Covid situation and the pressure to discharge her mother in her 80s, support and information was lacking.

“My mother was discharged on a Friday afternoon and was poorly all weekend and there was no support,” she said. “She was incontinent and I stayed with her all day until the Monday morning when I spoke to the doctor and got support from Hospital at Home.

“If she had not been discharged on a Friday I could have found out about this service and got it in place more quickly.

“I had no idea what services were available.”

Meanwhile, the daughter of another patient leaving PCH was very complimentary about the services from the NHS and social care.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “It was fantastic really. They were sensitive to her needs and could not have done anything any better.

“It was great that they waited to discharge her before everything was put into place to make her safe at home, particularly given the situation with Covid.”

Have you left hospital recently?

You can share your experiences of local hospitals with Healthwatch and say what is gone well or what needs improving.

You can share your views online at or call Healthwatch on 0330 355 1285.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.