AROUND 1,500 patients across south Warwickshire are being forced to stay in hospital each month – despite being ready to go home.
High numbers of discharge delays – often referred to as ‘bed blocking’ – hit South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) in April, May and June.
NHS England, which compiled the results, indicated the most common reason was patients waiting for a care package to become available either in their own home or at a care home. Other reasons included waiting for an NHS assessment and for funding.
A spokeswoman for the trust – which runs hospitals in Warwick, Stratford, Leamington and Shipston, told the Observer: “The trust recognises how important it is to reduce delayed transfers of care and is working with all partners across Warwickshire, including social care and the third sector, to identify where improvements can be made.
“This system wide approach, led by the Warwickshire’s Care Better Together Board, will ensure that people are receiving care in the most appropriate setting.”
The board was created to unite council and healthcare services to see patients better supported.
But across the whole of Warwickshire the recorded figure was equally high with more than 2,500 bed blocking cases. More than half were in South Warwickshire with an equal split due to NHS delays and social care delays.
Izzi Seccombe, Warwickshire County Council leader and chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said more needed to be done.
She said: “No one’s elderly parent, grandparents or friends should be left unnecessarily in a hospital bed, when they could be treated in the comfort and dignity of their own home.
“Councils are absolutely committed to reducing the level of delayed transfers of care from the NHS and are working with providers and hospitals to help reduce pressures on health services.
“Across the country nearly six out of ten people delayed in hospital are unable to leave because they require further NHS services, with just over a third awaiting support from council social care.
“The scale of underfunding councils have faced in recent years is placing the care provider market under huge pressure, making it more difficult to discharge people from hospital back to their homes and communities.”