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Hospital on the ball to stop blockers

PUBLISHED: 23:00 26 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:36 03 March 2010

BEDBLOCKER numbers rising again in East Suffolk, and health bosses have warned they must be on the ball to prevent a repeat of last year's soaring increases.

BEDBLOCKER numbers rising again in East Suffolk, and health bosses have warned they must be on the ball to prevent a repeat of last year's soaring increases.

At the Suffolk County Council and NHS Partnership Board meeting in Ipswich members heard they had not met their own target to reduce the number of people whose discharge from hospital was delayed, by 42 per cent.

John Lewis, associate director of planning and commissioning, admitted it had been 'slightly ambitious' to try to cut numbers by that much between September and March.

But he said Suffolk hospitals had met the Government's target to reduce bedblockers by 30per cent, which was being monitored.

Latest figures show there are still 164 people in Suffolk's community and acute hospitals who don't need to be there, and the main reason (64 per cent of waiters) is that they are waiting for a residential or nursing home place.

The number of bedblockers are shrinking for Suffolk as a whole thanks to a cash grant to buy nursing and residential home care for 86 people, in addition to the usual 80-or-so placements a month.

But in the east of the county, there were 99 bedblockers on March 12, compared to 91 on February 11.

And comparing January to March with the same period last year, shows there are now more people awaiting a residential or nursing home place, or a home care package.

Mr Lewis said that in West Suffolk Hospital at Bury St Edmunds, three out of ten 'bedblockers' who are being cared for live across the county border.

He warned against making judgements on snapshot figures, but said: "Overall, we are in roughly the same position as we were last year, and the lesson in that is not to take our eye off the ball. We were doing well this time last year then figures started to increase after that."

Joanna Spicer, chairwoman of Suffolk Health said: "I am seriously alarmed to see that 30 beds are blocked at Hartismere Hospital which is where many Ipswich patients go. Beds are getting blocked at community hospitals as well as acute hospitals. We have got to watch it better or numbers will start soaring again in April, May and June. The underlying problem is that there is not enough capacity in the county."

Janet Dillaway for Suffolk County Council, said a balance had to be struck between finding and paying for alternative care for hospital patients, and elderly people in the community.


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