23rd Sep, 2019

Bed-blocking in Warwickshire rockets

Laura Kearns 16th Mar, 2017

BED blocking in Warwickshire hospitals has rocketed.

It has prompted calls for action after incidents of people having to spend days longer in hospital than they needed to more than doubled in the past two years.

In 2014 there was 415 days wasted across Warwickshire while home care was arranged, but by 2016 this figure had soared to 854 days.

The NHS statistics highlight problems with delayed discharges – where patients are medically fit to leave hospital but are stuck in beds due to problems arranging care in the community. One night in a hospital costs nearly £300, compared with around £80 in a care home.

Stratford district councillor Peter Moorse says something urgently needs to be done to tackle the problem.

He told The Observer: “A lot of people in Warwickshire will be affected by this – either unable to go home from hospital of stuck waiting for a bed to come free.

“I think it is all part of the pressure that social care is under across the country – a mixture of under-funding and an increasingly ageing population.”

Warwickshire County Council say there are a number of issues which can cause a delayed transfer of care.

They say assessments, need to find a suitable home care service or care home, waiting for prescriptions and transportation are just some of the reasons people may spend longer than needed in hospital.

A council spokeswoman told the Observer: “Planning a patient’s discharge from hospital will be proportionate to how ill or frail they are. Evidence suggests that more complex discharge planning is required due to the increased complexity of patients within hospital.

“The discharge of a patient from hospital can take time, particularly when families of the patient are involved and they have to make potentially life changing decisions about their loved ones care.

“Choosing the right care home for mum, dad, wife or husband, is not a decision which can be taken lightly and it may take some time for the family and the patient to agree which care home they wish to reside in, if this is the appropriate place of residence following a stay in hospital.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, in his budget last week, pledged an extra £2billion to tackle the crisis in social care funding across the country – of which Warwickshire will receive £20million over the next three years.

It comes on top of an extra two per cent precept included in council tax bills in Warwickshire specifically for social care.

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