If a hospital negligence injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Premature hospital discharge refers to the early release from medical care, potentially leading to a worsening of a patient's condition that requires readmission and further treatment.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by medical negligence, we can help. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.
In this article
Being sent home too early from hospital can have significant health repercussions. In some cases, it may amount to a medical negligence claim.
Premature discharge from hospital lead to unnecessarily prolonged illness, it can also lead to other more serious complications.
If you have suffered as a result of a hospital discharge which is considered unreasonably early, or exposed you to unreasonable risk, you may be entitled to seek compensation. Proving that your condition or worsening condition was the result of hospital negligence is crucial to making a successful claim.
You are not alone
The growing hospital readmission rate in the UK is a indicator that many patients may be sent home from hospital prematurely.
Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that, in 2013, there were more than a million emergency readmissions in England alone. This was a 27 percent increase from the previous year.
According to the HSCIC, the most common injuries or illnesses that prompt readmission include hip fractures, strokes and hysterectomies.
These relapses have largely been attributed to inadequate discharge and follow-up arrangements.
If you decide to make a premature hospital discharge claim, your medical negligence solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Do I qualify for premature hospital discharge compensation?
You have the right to claim premature hospital discharge compensation if the care you received did not meet the appropriate standard of care, and you were injured by this negligent treatment.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
How long do I have to make a premature hospital discharge claim?
For a premature hospital discharge claim, you usually have 3 years to make a claim from the date you became aware that the harm you suffered was caused by substandard treatment (date of knowledge).
The 3 year limitation period does not apply to minors (under 18s). A parent, guardian or litigation friend can start a claim on a child's behalf up to their 18th birthday and the child has until their 21st birthday to claim for themselves.
How much compensation can I claim for premature hospital discharge?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Premature hospital discharge
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Updated December 2023
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General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are awarded to compensate you for any costs or losses you've incurred or might incur as a result of your accident. These costs might include loss of earnings, damage to clothing or training equipment, or any other out of pocket expenses.
Special damages may also be awarded for medical treatments or procedures that you might need to treat your injury, including hospital readmission, corrective treatment and psychological support.
Dangerous discharge from hospital
Premature discharge can also include dangerous discharge. 'Dangerous discharge' describes when patients are not only signed out to leave early, but also are required to leave abruptly without appropriate steps being taken to ensure their safety.
There have been cases of patients being discharged in the middle of night and without any controls in place to ensure they can get home safely or have appropriate care set up when they do arrive home.
Proving an untimely discharge
For a patient who has suffered as a result of premature discharge, whether this means a hospital readmission or not, the first step in making a successful claim is proving that the discharge was indeed premature that additional suffering was caused as a direct result of the discharge.
Hospitals must have strict procedures in place to ensure that a patient is genuinely ready to leave.
Due to the high demand for beds and shrinking budgets, decisions that are inappropriate or unsafe are sometimes made. These decisions to discharge may amount to clinical negligence.
Not every one of these inappropriate decisions will be deemed negligent. The questions that will be asked to determine negligence may include:
- Did the hospital staff's actions fall under the accepted standard of medical care
- Would another similar-skilled medical practitioner or hospital have discharged the patient given their condition?
Failings that could be considered to amount to negligence include:
- Failure to make any follow-up appointments
- Failure to diagnose or properly treat
- Failure to conduct proper medical tests
- Failure to ensure the patient was medically stable
During the claims process, a medical expert will be able to provide detailed information on how you were harmed as a result of premature discharge.
Your solicitor will be able to answer any questions you have regarding this at the outset of your claim. To speak to a specialist solicitor about your potential claim, call us on 0800 376 1001, or request a callback.
Clinical negligence claims
Premature hospital discharge-related injuries are usually categorised as clinical negligence. Click on the icon below for more information.
How we can help you with your medical negligence claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.
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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.