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New NHS policy delivering patient choice and freeing up hospital beds

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A new policy allowing patients to return home after surgery without the need for an overnight carer has been introduced by the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Day-case patients usually need someone to stay overnight with them in their home, following general anaesthetic. If they are not able to do this, they must stay in hospital for observation.

National health bodies now recognise that patients of some procedures and anaesthetic techniques do not require an overnight carer, if they have had a good recovery while in hospital during the day.

These patients are now being allowed home – provided they are accompanied there – without their friend or family member having to stay overnight, freeing up hospital beds across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Criteria for allowing patients home includes:

  • The anaesthetist, surgeon, ward team and patient must all agree.
  • The standard discharge criteria has been met.
  • That they have a responsible adult to escort them home.

Dr Steve Wiggans, deputy medical director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “Some patients who live alone say they don’t want or need a carer staying in their home, and others find it difficult to arrange. Admitting patients overnight may be unnecessary and can result in cancellations if a bed isn’t available. This gives patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria more options, and places them at the centre of decision making.

“All patients will need to have a responsible adult escort them home, and any patients who prefer to have a carer present after surgery won’t be discouraged.”


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