Hospital discharge procedures

YOUR front page article on November 20 referred to a debate which took place at the North Somerset health overview and scrutiny panel meeting in August

YOUR front page article on November 20 referred to a debate which took place at the North Somerset health overview and scrutiny panel meeting in August and referred to discharge procedures at Weston General Hospital.We have not had any individual instances referred to us to substantiate the concerns raised, but we have been working to ensure our discharge processes have been reviewed. This was noted at the August meeting, with positive comments regarding discharge procedures made by colleagues from within both the council and the NHS. These comments, though recorded in the minutes, went unreported in your article.Whilst we recognise that bad news sells in these challenging financial times, it would be a sign of greater openness and responsibility if newspapers would also acknowledge good news regarding the local NHS with the same prominence.More than a million people have contact with the NHS every day in England and there is no public service in the world which has a higher reputation for the standard of care it offers. For example, of the 17,000 patients seen in September in Weston, we have received seven complaints. In the very small minority of instances when delivery of care falls short of our patients' expectations, we acknowledge this, apologise and improve our practices as a consequence. It would be gratifying if our local community newspaper recognised this and kept its coverage of our service in proportion. LORENE READ - Chief Executive, Weston General Hospital* EDITOR'S NOTE: Last week's report was originally sourced from North Somerset Council documents, with supporting interviews carried out with members of the council, the local nursing homes association chairman, Great Western Ambulance Service and a representative of Weston General Hospital. We remain satisfied that our story was accurate and credible and, as is our policy, we gave the hospital the opportunity to put forward its side of the story. The Mercury is keen to establish a co-operative relationship with management at Weston General Hospital which would allow us to find and publish positive news stories but we also believe our readers appreciate it when we highlight incidents where care falls short of expected standards.


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