Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Readmission rates

Readmission rates reflect how well whole health and social care systems function

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 29 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1150
  1. David Oliver, visiting professor of medicine for older people1
  1. 1City University London, London EC1V 0HB, UK
  1. David.Oliver.1{at}

These articles on readmission are based on a flawed premise—that readmissions are a marker of the quality of care in acute hospitals.1 2 3 Of course, patients are sometimes sent home unwell and prematurely, or with complications caused by hospital admission. But readmissions usually occur because4:

  • A new illness occurs, unrelated to the first admission

  • The patient has a long term condition, such as cardiac failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which relapses

  • The hospital, wanting …

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