Fines to tackle bed-blocking

NEW fines to reduce the problem of bed-blocking in hospitals could mean elderly and chronically sick people are forced into care homes many miles from their families, researchers warned today.

NEW fines to reduce the problem of bed-blocking in hospitals could mean elderly and chronically sick people are forced into care homes many miles from their families, researchers warned today.

From now on social services have just two days to make arrangements for patients who are ready to leave hospital otherwise they face a £1,000 fine.

In Suffolk there are currently 41 people stuck in hospital although hundreds of thousands of pounds have been ploughed into resolving the problem over the last few years.

Chris Lane spokesman for Suffolk's social services that the emphasis is now on trying to keep people in their own homes where possible.


You may also want to watch:


He said: "The very last thing we will do is to move people to inappropriate care where they would not achieve a quality of life that would keep them happy and well.

"We are working together with the health service to provide care in their own homes which is where people want to be.

Most Read

"Occasionally it does happen that as a temporary measure someone might be asked to move from an acute hospital to a community one which may be disruptive to them for example if their family does not have a car but it is almost always temporary."

A report by the Public Accounts Committee in September said that an "intolerable" number of older patients across the country were waiting too long to be discharged from hospital - costing the NHS £170 million a year.

However Suffolk West MP David Ruffley claims that the problem could be resolved by Suffolk County Council turning more of their council run homes over to the private or voluntary sector as the Government and an independent audit commission agreed that would create better run care homes.

Between 2000 and 2002 Cambridgeshire County Council transferred 680 of its care homes into the private and voluntary sector and Essex transferred 440, Suffolk transferred none.

In the year 2002/3 they transferred 280 and another 89 are in progress.

Mr Ruffley accused the county council of making the bed blocking crisis worse and "being asleep at the wheel."

However Anthony Douglas, head of social services, said the current focus was on replacing some care homes with Very Sheltered Housing schemes.

He said: "We see this direct replacement programme as a better way of re-providing our current residential care homes, than by selling them as going concerns to the independent sector. However, we would not rule this out in future as the option of choice for some homes.

"In my view, a sensible mix of provision is essential. Our own homes are very popular with local people, and our standards have been commended by the National Care Standards Commission."

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus