New bed crisis at hospital

BEDBLOCKERS have increased at Ipswich Hospital during the winter months.In January there were 32 people at the Heath Road site who did not need acute care but had nowhere else to go, compared to 25 in December.

BEDBLOCKERS have increased at Ipswich Hospital during the winter months.

In January there were 32 people at the Heath Road site who did not need acute care but had nowhere else to go, compared to 25 in December.

The reasons for the delays are patients waiting for care placements in both nursing and residential homes, some of which are taking longer because of patient or family choice.

However it has also been pointed out in a report to Ipswich Primary Care Trust board that there is a lack of capacity in appropriate care homes, particularly for older people with mental health needs.


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In other cases delays were caused because the care packages have not yet been put in place to assure that the patient gets the right community follow up care on discharge from the hospital.

Nerinda Evans, head of service performance for the PCT stated in the report that there has also been a rise in the amount of people delayed in community hospitals in the county.

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It is thought this rise may reflect the increased pressure on the acute hospitals in recent weeks.

During the winter months at the end of last year, Ipswich Hospital and other acute hospitals in the region saw a huge surge of emergency admissions, many caused by people with respiratory problems.

However the report stated that although the number of delays in community hospitals has not reduced, the length of delays has gone down allowing a greater turn over of patients.

Moves are being made to reduce the number of bedblockers in all hospitals.

Targets for March 2004 for the number of people delayed in community hospitals by no more than 16 weeks was 30, however at the end of January there were only nine people in this situation.

More intermediary beds are being put in place both in private and local authority care homes for those who do not need hospital care but are not yet able to look after themselves in their own homes.

But in the longer term health chiefs are looking into preventative measures to reach people before they need hospital care.

A public meeting of the Ipswich Primary Care Trust board is due to take place on Wednesday March 3 at 12.30pm at the Trinity Rooms, Suffolk Showground, Bucklesham Road, Ipswich.

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