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City is among worst places for hospital ‘bed blocking’
YORK has been named as one of the worst places in England for hospital beds being blocked because of a lack of community care facilities.
NHS England figures for October showed patients were being kept in hospital despite being well enough to be discharged because there was no care available nearer their home. It meant 1,088 “lost bed days” within City of York Council’s boundaries that month, including 428 for acute care.
The study showed 757 “delayed days” were attributable to social care, 297 to the NHS and 34 to both areas.
In most other local authority areas, the majority of delays were due to NHS issues rather than social care.
The figures provided to NHS England by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Leeds and York Mental Health Foundation Trust said that, for every 100,000 members of the population aged 18 or over, there were 461.6 days of delayed care transfers on average. A hospital spokeswoman said: “Clearly, we would like to see fewer patients delayed in hospital beds, whatever the reason, and we are working hard with our commissioners, local authorities and other providers to improve the way all parts of the system operate and to work towards ensuring only those patients who need acute care are in hospital.
“We need to make sure patients who are fit to leave hospital are discharged safely and able to recover in the right place with the right support. However, no patient should experience unnecessary delays.”
City of York Council said recent Audit Commission figures were “at odds” with NHS England’s statistics and it wanted to clarify this. Council leader Coun James Alexander said demand for social care was growing, care needs were becoming more complex, and the historic debt of the region’s former primary care trust had been a key factor.
“It is clear there has been a long-running, systemic problem going back ten years, and one consequence of this was that £1 million of reablement funding has not reached the council from the primary care trust,” he said.
“The problem has not been helped by the reorganisation of the NHS, and both of York’s MPs and the council have repeatedly raised funding issues with ministers. We have already begun to address these issues through a radical redesign and integration of services led by a new director of health and wellbeing. I have asked for an urgent review and I am expecting improvements within six months.”
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