More funding needed for social care to help ease bed blocking

LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 27/04/2020 - GV's - Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury....
LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 27/04/2020 – GV’s – Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury….

South Shropshire Green Party ‘Healthy Greens’ team found that, over a recent 12 month period, the delayed discharges of patients following their Shropshire main hospitals’ treatments amount to the equivalent of the loss of 53 years of unavailable but vitally needed inpatient hospital beds.

The research showed that in 12 months to October last year, 19,560 bed days were lost for incoming patients. Recovering patients, although fit to move from hospital, were unable to be discharged to a clinically safe setting.

The team says the lost bed days could and should have accommodated 4347 patients leaving A&E for inpatients’ beds.

Healthy Greens’ co-lead and senior nurse Clare Nash said this was not the fault of the main hospitals, which must ensure patients are discharged to a safe setting.

“It is the failure of Government to ensure enough appropriate ‘step-down’ provision for recovering patients,” she said.

“The care sector in Shropshire is in severe stress from patients’ care needs not being met with adequate supply.”

Shropshire Councilor and former A&E Sister Julia Evans said “No wonder our Shropshire A&E’s cannot meet the national target to transfer patients into a hospital bed. Over 12 months over14,000 patients could not be moved from A&E into inpatients. So the way out of A&E is blocked, which means that the way into A&E is blocked, so ambulances cannot unload seriously ill patients into A&E, so ambulances queue outside our two emergency hospitals and as a consequence unavailable to attend the next seriously ill or injured patient.”

“What a terrible mess, delivering unacceptable stress for patients their families and valiant medical staff and delayed emergency care with fatal risks.”

The research found that Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust also had significant delays in the 12 months to December 2021.

“More than three quarters of patients were occupying rehabilitation beds when fit enough to move-on elsewhere and 30 of these patients were ‘super-stranded’, still in hospital three weeks after being assessed as fit for discharge. Again lack of rehabilitation and social care capacity was the cause, and remains unacceptably so today.”

John Crowe, Co-lead of Healthy Greens said: “Shropshire’s hospital managers and board members and chairs have long known from their own data,that the knotted string of bottlenecks within the patient’s hospital journey arises from lack of social care capacity into which to discharge recovering patients.”

“Shropshire’s Health Trust Chairs and Board members must adopt a much stronger voice to ensure their hospitals can discharge patients as soon as fit enough. Also, Shropshire Council, and Telford and Wrekin Council must ‘do what it takes’ together with our five Shropshire MPs to provide sufficient appropriate capacity to put right this for-ever system failure.”

Councilor Evans and the Shropshire Greens ‘Healthy Greens’ team have written to all five Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin MPs asking what actions are they pursuing to deal with “unacceptable, and dangerous situation.”

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