Harrowing accounts of elderly people suffering and dying alone after being sent home from hospital too soon are related in a report from an NHS watchdog, which says too many vulnerable patients are being failed by the discharge system.
Dame Julie Mellor, the parliamentary and health service ombudsman, recounted the experiences of nine patients and their distressed families but added that these were only a fraction of the total number of such cases.Perhaps the Scottish Health Service has a different practice. On all three occasions in the past 18 months during which I underwent operations, the Edinburgh Western General was most reluctant to let me go, even although I am a relatively fit elderly person. On one occasion, I had to discharge myself; on another, I had to get my sister to collect me in order to avoid spending another night in hospital.
I found the experiences intensely frustrating but I have no doubt that the actions of the hospital staff were motivated by the best of intentions.