Social care crisis leaving patients stuck in hospital

The social care crisis is still leaving huge numbers of patients stuck in hospital, even though they no longer need treatment.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 4:45 am
There are currently 125 medically fit patients using a bed at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, predominantly because they’ve got no care arrangements in place.

There are currently 125 medically fit patients using a bed at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, predominantly because they’ve got no care arrangements in place.

The trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospital, said the issue was affecting “flow” within its emergency care departments, which remain extremely busy.

The number of patients within the trust waiting to be discharged is down by just two in September.

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Speaking at a trust board meeting on Thursday, chief operating officer Trudie Davies said: “The key reason for people staying in hospital, which has received some national attention, is the crisis in the care home sector.

“Care homes are increasingly unable to support with living arrangements.

“It’s typical of the national picture at the moment.”

Social care is facing a growing shortage of care workers and standards across residential and nursing homes are declining.

In Wakefield alone, more than a dozen care homes and agencies have been placed in special measures in the last year.

Almost all of them were described as “short-staffed” at the time of their inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Ms Davies said the numbers of medically fit patients equated to five full hospital wards.

She said: “If we didn’t have this issue, we’d free up more capacity for the emergency department and it would free up ambulances and we’d have a system which would work fairly well.

“But the reality is when you have five wards of patients who don’t need to be in hospital, we’re going to be tinkering round the edges, rather solving the root cause of the problem.

“There’s a misunderstanding that hospital is a better place to be.

“Our hospital wards are safe, but it is safer to be at home if you’re medically fit to be discharged.”

David Spereall , Local Democracy Reporting Service