Bedblocker Masie is desperate to go home

A PENSIONER'S plight has today highlighted the strain being put on Ipswich Hospital by community care shortages.As revealed by The Evening Star last week there are currently around 50 “bed blockers” in the hospital - people who are well enough to leave but are unable to.

A PENSIONER'S plight has today highlighted the strain being put on Ipswich Hospital by community care shortages.

As revealed by The Evening Star last week there are currently around 50 “bed blockers” in the hospital - people who are well enough to leave but are unable to.

The problem is highlighted by the case of Masie Dickson, in her late 80s and unable to return to her Woodbridge home because Suffolk County Council can't provide a care package to meet her needs.

She is one of seven patients currently stuck in the hospital for that reason. Others may be waiting for a particular care home space to become available or necessary modifications to be installed in their home as well as other reasons.

Social services have already put in place several thousands pounds worth of modifications at Mrs Dickson's home, but cannot currently provide enough carers to look after her.

Mrs Dickson has been at the hospital since late October for a hip surgery. She has since caught the C-diff infection twice, but has been told is ready for discharge.

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Suffolk County Council has suggested moving Mrs Dickson into a residential home in Felixstowe until the caring problem is resolved, something her family and herself are not happy with.

Mrs Dickson's son-in-law, Graham Wickens, said: “I am at my wits end.

“She knows it is wrong she is taking a hospital bed but why does she want to take up a residential bed when she has her own at home? It is social services that are bed blocking - not her.

“A lot of money has been spent on the equipment (in her home) and it is just ludicrous.”

Graham Newman, the county council's portfolio Holder for Adult and Community Services, admitted Mrs Dickson's case was a “very unfortunate one”.

He said: “To go home, she needs two carers together to visit her four times a day, as well as a night visit. It is difficult to find staff to meet this level of intensity in this particular area, where we have seen exceptionally high demand over the Christmas and New Year period.”

Jan Rowsell, head of communications at Ipswich Hospital, said: “In this case the lady has had a difficult time and what we have to do is look at whether an acute hospital is the best place to be.

“If there is an alternative safe place with the right level of care we would encourage patients not to stay in acute hospitals as with this lady the possibility of acquiring infections is higher if you stay in for long periods of time.”