WATCH: QA Hospital patient tells how care delay prevented him returning home for 26 days

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EXHAUSTED after spending 26 days trapped in hospital, Jack Lovelock is now glad to be home.

The 58-year-old was admitted to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham last month but ended up as an unwilling bed-blocker.

Jack Lovelock, 58, back at home reunited with Charlie the Cat.

Picture: Habibur Rahman (170646-23)

Jack Lovelock, 58, back at home reunited with Charlie the Cat. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170646-23)

The News revealed how Mr Lovelock, who has emphysema, was fit to go home but had no care plan in place.

Now he is home – and reunited with his three-year-old cat Charlie – after Hampshire County Council arranged his care to resume.

Mr Lovelock, of Chapelside, in Portchester, said hospital carers have visited him for a week since he was discharged to bridge the gap in the council’s care package.

He said: ‘I was on the phone twice a day. There were a lot of other people who need help in getting out. There’s so many in there who are in their 60s, 70s, and 80s that haven’t got their faculties.’

He added: ‘I feel a lot better – I just had to wait for my cat to return.’

Mr Lovelock, who returned home on May 12, has nothing but praise for the doctors and nurses who brought him back to health, and for the social worker who finally organised a care package.

As reported, after three days in hospital his twice-a-day at-home care visits were cancelled. He then waited 26 days for the same plan to be reinstated.

He was declared fit on April 16 after being admitted on April 12. But he feared if he left without a plan, he would be back in hospital and that the council would not see him as a priority.

Initially Hampshire’s council spokeswoman said it was sorry for Mr Lovelock not getting home as quickly as he would have liked.

Tory Portsmouth North MP candidate Penny Mordaunt said the bulk of bed-blocking problems were with Hampshire, not Portsmouth City Council.

‘According to the QA Portsmouth Council does well in getting people the care packages they need, when they need them, the bulk of the care issue being with Hampshire,’ she said.

Now the county authority has said it had made some improvements. It supports the discharge of 14,000 people each year county-wide and commissions 6m hours of home care, despite nursing and carer shortages.

‘No-one wants patients to have to stay in hospital for any longer than is absolutely necessary. Hampshire is one of the largest counties in England, with a very large and frail elderly population,’ a spokeswoman said.

She added: ‘Our concerted action has seen reductions in the number of people delayed in both Queen Alexandra and Hampshire’s other acute hospitals over the last few months.’

But she warned the ‘provision of care remains extremely challenging’

The Labour candidate for Portsmouth North Rumal Khan said: ‘This is a dreadful situation, but it’s becoming all too common and it needs to stop.

‘Why would someone who clearly depends on his carers at home, have his care package cancelled because he is in hospital? He’s still going to need it when he goes home again.

‘Surely the county council’s adult social services know this?’