Thirteen patients blocking beds every day in hospitals

Bed-blocking in hospitals is becoming a concern for some within the Bassetlaw region.
Bed-blocking in hospitals is becoming a concern for some within the Bassetlaw region.

Thirteen patients every day are taking up beds at Bassetlaw and Doncaster hospitals when they are actually fit to be discharged, new figures show.

The NHS data has raised concern that the delays could have a detrimental impact on the health of elderly patients who are stuck in the beds waiting to be signed off.

According to the NHS, a hospital stay of more than ten days for a person over the age of 80 can lead to ten years of muscle ageing.

The bed-blocking figures relate to hospitals run by the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust, including Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop.

They show that, in February, patients spent a total of 377 days waiting to be discharged, sent home or transferred to a different care facility.

A total of 50 per cent of the delays were caused by problems within the NHS, such as waiting for a bed to become available in a rehabilitation centre or mental-health hospital.

A further 46 per cent were caused by delays in setting up community care or special equipment at the patient’s home.

For the trust, David Purdue, chief operating officer, said: “Significant work has been under way to improve patient-discharge processes, and to reduce the number of medically fit patients waiting in our hospitals.

“For a number of years, the trust has met with social care and community partners to focus on the reduction of delays and the prevention of unnecessarily long stays in hospital.

“We have made good progress, with delayed discharge rates better than expected and the trust is now one of the best performing in the country in terms of ‘super-stranded patients’, those whose discharge is delayed for more than 21 days.”

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is urging a more joined-up approach to health and social care to tackle bed-blocking delays.

A spokesperson said: “There is too much ineffective co-ordination, leading to fragmented care for older people.”