Councillors to make hospital visit

January 24, 2008 12:00 AM

Councillors from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee are to visit local hospitals to get a better understanding of what happens when vulnerable people are sent home.

As part of a joint review of hospital discharge procedures between the council and the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, the visits will give councillors the opportunity to find out how the process works.

Last week, councillors listened to a presentation on hospital discharge procedures given by Steve Taylor, Associate Director of Medicine, and Ann Pogson, a ward sister at Fairfield Hospital.

The review has been launched following criticism from the Commission for Social Care Inspection in its recent assessment of social care services for older people in Rochdale borough.

Tom Wilders from the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: "We are committed to working in partnership with the council to ensure that when people leave hospital they get the best possible advice and support to ensure that they are able to live independently. As elected members make the decisions on council policies we feel it's important that they get a good understanding of the hospital discharge process so that they are able to work with us to develop more robust procedures that protect vulnerable people when they leave our care."

Councillor Dale Mulgrew, cabinet member for health and social care added: "We fully welcome this positive statement from the Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust and together we will do everything possible to improve this vital service when people are discharged from hospital. We are both committed to a complete clampdown on unacceptable cases and this joint review will be examining whether, in practise, we need to change anything to better enforce this 'zero tolerance' approach.

"The visits by members from the health scrutiny committee will really help them to get a better understanding of discharge procedures by talking to those involved at operational level - rather than having theoretical discussions about policy in the Town Hall. I hope that it can then be a stimulus for debate on services and standards that the people of the borough should expect."