DAUK in the BMJ: Doctors slam “unacceptable” move after hospital asks clinicians to discharge patients early

Medical leaders have warned that doctors and patients are being placed at risk after it emerged that an NHS hospital had encouraged doctors to discharge patients early because of a lack of beds.

The internal email to senior clinicians, seen by the BBC, was sent by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust in response to “significant pressure” on services.

To free up capacity the trust said that it was having to consider discharging patients “earlier than some clinicians would like.” It admitted that these patients could come to harm, describing the move as a “proportionate risk.”

Rinesh Parmar, chair of the Doctors’ Association UK and an Intensive Care doctor, said that his association understood the “extreme pressures” that NHS trusts were currently under after a decade of underfunding.

But he added, “This is morally repugnant and against the very fibre of what doctors stand for. We care for our patients and respect their dignity [rather than] simply dispatching them early into the community to already overstretched, struggling services. Our patients deserve better than these shortsighted ploys to generate beds the expense of their health.”.

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