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Vulnerable patients are being discharged from hospital unsafely and sent home to situations where they have inadequate support because of lack of coordination between health, social care, and community services, an investigation by the healthcare consumer organisation Healthwatch England has found.
The investigation was based on the experiences of discharge of 3230 people considered as vulnerable (elderly people, homeless people, and people with mental health conditions) and on information gathered from trusts through freedom of information legislation and from surveys of patients.
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Further details on the establishment of local HealthWatch bodies, including a new start date and extra funding, have been set out by Health Minister Andrew Lansley.
Following feedback from local authorities and Local Involvement Networks, they now have until April 2013 to work with local health experts and volunteers to establish the local HealthWatch. The new local health bodies are set to replace Local Involvement Networks and will be the local consumer champion for patients, service users and the public.