UK hospitals could lose up to £1.5bn of NHS funding each year in readmission fines, according to health analyst Dr Foster Intelligence.

The fines, which will be payable when a patient is readmitted to an emergency department within 30 days of discharge, were announced by UK Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in early June.

The firm predicts that individual NHS trusts could face losses up to £28.7m.

The UK Department of Health has yet to confirm if hospitals will not be paid for treating any patients who return within the limit, regardless of the reasons, or just those with certain medical conditions.

The British Medical Association, meanwhile, is concerned about patients being kept in hospital for longer than necessary due to the policy.

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By GlobalData