Bed-blocking: Patient is stuck in hospital for 17 weeks waiting for care package to be agreed

FIGURES have shown the extent of bed-blocking at Queen Alexandra Hospital over the last year.

Wednesday, 28th June 2017, 1:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:51 am
QA is working to reduce the problem of bed-blocking, when patients who are ready to leave the hospital cannot do so due to care packages not being ready

The longest time a patient had been delayed in 2016/17 in hospital was 17 weeks.

In that period 1,487 patients saw delayed discharge - more commonly known as bed-blocking - with city patients accounting for 590 and Hampshire residents the remaining 883.

Bed-blocking is when a patient is ready to leave hospital but a care package has not been agreed for them, meaning they continue to occupy a bed.

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Councillor Luke Stubbs

But the figures, obtained under freedom of information law, show the NHS was responsible for 674 delays, with councils’ social care causing 779 delays.

In all, social care and the NHS had joint responsibility for 34 delays.

The data showed 537 people suffered a one-week delay, 200 a two-week delay and 108 a three-week delay.

And 41 patients were delayed by four weeks, 31 by five weeks, 10 by six weeks and eight by seven weeks.

Councillor Luke Stubbs

Dr Rob Haigh, executive director for emergency care at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘Delays in the discharge of patients can result from a wide range of healthcare-related factors, such as awaiting beds for ongoing rehabilitation or other highly specialised health needs (for example complex end of life care provision), difficulty finding appropriate housing for patients, and even patient and family choice.

‘At the trust we continuously work alongside all our NHS partners to safely discharge patients who are medically fit for discharge in a timely and safe manner.’

Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for adult social care at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Reducing this number is one of the priorities of the NHS and we are working on a plan to help combat this.

‘We hope to see it implemented shortly.’

New statistics have also revealed that Portsmouth City Council now spends £145.08 per week per person for domiciliary care - an increase of £19.98 since March last year.

The council has also seen the number of care packages costing less than £100 decrease and the number costing more than £200 increase.

The data, due to be presented to the Portsmouth health overview and scrutiny panel (Hosp) meeting tomorrow, also showed the number of patients under the council’s care has increased from last year from 951 to 957.

But Cllr Stubbs said he was not worried about the increase in cost.

‘The aim for social care is to keep people out of care homes and nursing homes,’ he said.

‘The best place for elderly people is in their own homes but this can be expensive.

‘Our hope is to make greater use of our domiciliary care to provide better outcomes and ultimately save money as well.

‘We don’t see an increase in the care costs as being a problem.’

Within the report, it says one of the reasons for the increase in costs is because people have more complex needs. But it added people are also spending more time in their homes.

As well as working to give people care in their homes, schemes are due to be introduced to get people out of hospital and reduce the number of patients stuck in beds.