Cash injection sees bed-blocking at Queen Alexandra Hospital reduced over the winter 

Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham             Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham Picture: Chris Moorhouse

BED blocking at QA Hospital more than halved this winter after a £600,000 boost into home care in Portsmouth.

Despite soaring admissions during the cold months only 231 bed days were lost to patients medically fit to go home in February, down from 583 in August the year before.

Preparations were made possible following an £800,000 grant to Portsmouth City Council that came as part of the government's autumn budget.

Around £200,000 was used to back-pay previous adult social care pressures, with the rest spent on getting patients home more quickly and enabling them to stay there.

This included providing reablement care at home as soon as patients left hospital, to bridge the 'dangerous period', as well as creating and improving packages of care for people.

Service manager for adult social care at the council, Andy Biddle, said: 'For people coming out of hospital it can be very confusing, very disorientating. They might have lost out on sleep due to all the noise and being woken up a lot. It might be difficult for them to return to normal home life.

'It's a dangerous period which can easily lead to them needing to go back into an institution.

'We call the support we give them reablement. It can help people maintain or improve their independence.'

A report on the council's winter pressure funding was heard at a health and wellbeing meeting today (March 19).

Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Councillor Matthew Winnington, was buoyed by the results of the cash. 'This is very encouraging,' he said.

'It shows that our investment works, and is worth doing. It is really good to hear about how we are considering what the best practice is for adult social care.'

Plans are now in place to keep the pressure schemes going beyond March 31 when the grant will be spent. However, this is dependent on if government will repeat the funding again this autumn.

Chief operating officer of the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Innes Richens said: 'We want to keep this going so we are not stopping and starting the support for people.

'At the moment we are checking that everything we did this winter did what we thought it would, as there is no point in spending public money if it's not as effective as it could be.'

He added: 'Government has said it will give us the grant again so I don't think it will go back on that but if it does it means there will be a future overspend in adult social care.'

The number of patients in QA who were fit for discharge did not change as dramatically as the days lost, with 51 in August compared to 41 in February.

This was due to 'unprecendented' demand on QA, as previously reported in The News, but the decrease in days lost meant that patients were able to go home more quickly.