This is Mike Farrer, who is chief executive of the NHS confederation. He it is who thinks that 25% of hospital in patients don’t need to be in a hospital bed. It is true that many patients, particularly the elderly and chronic sick can prove difficult to move out due to lack of community facilities, but the proportion is nowhere near that percentage, and it is also true that, even if this were addressed there would still be plenty of patients queuing up to take those vacated beds.
The fact is that there is chronic under provision of acute beds, and the frantic drive to discharge patients as quickly as possible inevitably results in the high readmission rate we currently see.
Despite Mr Farrer’s years in the NHS he seems blind to the fact that both NHS consultants and GPs are increasingly finding it difficult to find beds to admit patients to.
Medical admission and discharge are clinical decisions, and NHS clinicians have no incentive to keep patients in hospital unnecessarily. So by and large if a doctor thinks a patient should be in hospital he is the one best qualified to make that decision.
Mr Farrer thinks that we should be moving more towards care in the community, rather as was done with psychiatry, and patient self care, otherwise known as “you’re on your own mate”.
So what qualifications and experience does Mr Farrer have that makes him feel he can pontificate on clinical matters to clinical professionals? Well his first NHS job was as a gardener. Before that he worked for Grand Metropolitan, and was a semi professional footballer. Not a doctor then. His numerous roles in NHS management do not qualify him to venture any opinion on a single hospital patient’s requirement for admission, or readiness for discharge. Perhaps instead of hectoring doctors in both primary and secondary care, and telling them how to do their jobs, he should shut his ignorant mouth and listen.