Health Board Condemned for Night Discharges


A SCOTTISH health board has been condemned after discharging almost 1,400 OAPs from hospital during the night.

NHS Fife admitted that 1,363 patients aged over 65 were sent home between 9pm and 9am during 2013/14.

Health chiefs said 367 of the patients were aged 80 or over.

The board was heavily criticised earlier this year after the death of Graeme Aitken, 66, who was sent to his Dunfermline home at 4am despite being blind and seriously ill.

A spokesperson for Age Scotland said: “Nobody should ever be discharged without the NHS knowing the proper care will be in place for them.

“Hospitals need to ensure people are appropriately discharged and that, if required, care plans are in place.

“Nobody who is in a vulnerable position should be sent home without this, especially not late at night.”

Mr Aitken was sent home by taxi on March 14.

The former Lib Dem councillor was discovered by his wife Wendy in his front garden having been sent home with a packet of paracetamol.

He told his wife he felt he was going to die and she immediately called for another ambulance to take him back to the hospital where he died the next day after having three seizures, with the doctor treating him claiming he was unaware of Mr Aitken’s previous admittance.

Two months after his death Mr Aitken was sent a bill for the taxi fare by NHS Fife.

Fife’s associate director of nursing, Morag Gardner, said: “The majority of patient discharges take place before midnight.

“However discharges taking place after 9pm generally involve patients who are leaving admissions units and have been admitted, seen by a doctor and subsequently seemed suitable to return home the same day.”