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Decrease in bed blocking

PUBLISHED: 22:00 29 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 March 2010

BED BLOCKING in Suffolk hospitals looks to be finally on the wane, according to new figures the Star can reveal today.

Suffolk Health said the numbers for both 'delayed transfers of care' - where elderly people are stuck in hospital beds because no other care is available - and emergency admissions of people over 75, are falling at the county's hospitals.

BED BLOCKING in Suffolk hospitals looks to be finally on the wane, according to new figures the Star can reveal today.

Suffolk Health said the numbers for both 'delayed transfers of care' – where elderly people are stuck in hospital beds because no other care is available – and emergency admissions of people over 75, are falling at the county's hospitals.

Latest figures for both are both below that for the same period last year, and the overall length of delays is also declining – with the main reason now being patients waiting for a residential or nursing home place to become available.

The new trend will be welcomed by health bosses, who have tried a range of initiatives and new funding, in a bid to stem the tide of bed blocking in particular.

Jane Rutherford, director of corporate services and Mark Millar, director of finance and healthcare commissioning, presented their report at the health authority's board meeting tomorrow.

The report said that in the East: "The fall-off in emergency admissions from June to September is mirrored by a fall in monthly averages for delayed transfers of care from August to the end of December."

It added: "There has been a fall in all localities over the last month, in respect of the month-end figures for delayed transfers of care. Numbers have reduced considerably in the East – from an average figure of 134 in October to an average of 103 in December."

But at Ipswich Hospital there were about 55 emergency admissions in October, compared to about 40 the year's least busiest point in August.

Ipswich saw an average about 325 delayed transfers in December, compared to about 650 in August.

At community hospitals such as the Bartlett, Hartismere and Felixstowe, the average number of delayed transfers of care have also been falling off, for the past two months.

The report also warned: "Care should be taken in drawing any strong conclusions about interrelated trends between emergency admissions of over 75s, and delayed transfers of care (largely from 65 onwards) due to age differences and large differences in scale."

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