Patients unable to leave hospital

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A winter care crisis has now stretched through the year as patients have been stuck in hospital for nearly four months despite being fit to go home.

The delays in discharging patients, also known as bed blocking, peaked in May at Mid Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust, an investigation has found.

In total, 1,899 patients experienced delays between January and June, with one person waiting 120 days to be discharged.

“In many areas, winter pressures never really went away,” said Phillippa Hentsch, head of analysis at trade association NHS Providers. “As we come to the end of summer, urgent decisions have to be made to ensure hospitals, and local health and care systems, have the beds and staff in place to cope with what is widely expected to be a busy winter period.”

The latest official figures for July show there has been a slight improvement of 1.5 per cent in the number of days lost to bed-blocking in England in the past year. But of nine hospital trusts in the region which responded to FOI requests, the Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust had by far the greatest number of patients affected.

“The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust have positive and collaborative working relationships with partners in both health and social care,” said Trudie Davies, director of operations for hospital services at the trust.

“This has supported a reduction in the percentage of patients who experience a delay in leaving hospital.

“This work is on-going and we expect that our reconfiguration activities will enable this to improve even further by concentrating resource for patients who might require support on discharge, in co-located areas, enabling services to promptly respond to patient need and support them to go home at the earliest opportunity.”