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500,000 patients a year readmitted to hospital

By Yvette Martyn

More than 500,000 patients are readmitted to hospital within 28 days of discharge, according to data released by the Conservative party.

546,354 patients were admitted to hospital within 28 days of being discharged in 2007/08, compared to just 359,719 in 1998/99.

The Conservatives claimed that the figures represent patients being discharged before they are well enough to be sent home.

However the Department of Health insisted: ‘Rates of readmission can also be a sign of better care.'

'More people with long term conditions are being offered the choice of being treated in the community, with readmission only if the condition worsens. A sequence of readmissions can often be preferable to a longer stay in hospital. Treatment in the community is what many people want.'