The UK Government has said that it plans to fine hospitals if patients have to be re-admitted as an emergency within a month of discharge.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that hospitals will be responsible for the aftercare of emergency admissions from April 2011, and that they will receive extra funding as a consequence.

However, they will forfeit payments for treating patients who return as emergencies within 30 days.

Emergency re-admissions increased by 52% between 1998/9 and 2007/8.

The move is intended to improve the quality of initial treatments.

“It will be in the interests of the hospital for patients to be discharged only when they are ready and safe to do so,” Lansley said.

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