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Fears over children ’not properly treated’ at East Lancs hospitals
CONCERNS have been raised about the number of children being sent home from the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals ‘without being properly treated’.
The under-18 readmission rate at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (EHLT), which measures the number of patients being admitted to hospital within 30 days of being discharged, was the seventh highest in England in the latest annual figures.
There were 2,907 readmissions in 2012, compared to the expected number of 2,306.
Last year, the Lancashire Telegraph highlighted the high readmission rates for all patients in Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire, with the issue later coming under scrutiny from NHS inspectors.
But the new data, obtained from researchers at the Dr Foster Intelligence unit, showed that readmission rates for adults were within the expected range, which suggests the situation is improving.
But Russ McLean, chair of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: “The readmission rates for under-18s are still very worrying. This is a key measure of the quality of services, because when you go into hospital you want to be properly treated, you don’t want to be going back again.
“I know the trust are working very hard but perhaps this is one of the areas they should give more consideration to.”
EHLT, which is currently in special measures, said the issue has been recognised a detailed action plan drawn up.
But a spokesman added: “The trust requested an independent audit of our paediatric emergency read- missions in December 2013, and this was com- missioned from a team from Greater Manchester Commissioning Support Unit.
“The team concluded that the high admission rate seems to be down to how our service is recorded rather than this high rate being an indicator of poor quality services.
“In fact they noted that this was such a high quality service that patients chose to come back to the unit for advice rather than using other appropriate services such as their GP surgery when they needed ongoing help.”
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