Gloucestershire hospital chief blames bed-blocking on care services

image copyrightGHNHSFT
image captionBed-blocking is said to be causing problems in A&E as well as with planned surgery

Bed-blocking at two Gloucestershire hospitals is being blamed on care services failing to get care plans into place quickly enough for patients.

About 80 patients are unable to leave hospital and concern has been raised by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's health board.

Chief executive Frank Harsent said: "We as a health and social care system are letting patients down."

Gloucestershire Care Services admitted there had been delays in some cases.

Bed-blocking is when patients who are deemed "medically fit" to be discharged remain in a hospital bed.

'Start of winter'

This can be due to delays in care packages being put in place to support people in their homes, or a lack of beds at community hospitals.

Gloucestershire Hospitals trust runs Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal hospitals.

"We're only at the start of winter and winter in the NHS goes on until April, so four or five months of this cannot be right," said Mr Harsent.

He said the bed-blocking had a knock-on effect, as it forced planned surgery appointments to be cancelled and caused delays in A&E.

'Complex needs'

Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust has more than 200 bed across its seven community hospitals.

It also said £3.9m had been invested in community teams and it was working closely with the hospitals trust on the issue.

The care trust's spokesman said: "The numbers of patients being deemed medically fit and ready to move to a different setting is monitored closely and changes throughout the day.

"In a small number of instances the complexity of a patient's needs are such that we cannot move them as quickly as we would like into a community setting.

"Our emphasis and focus continues to be on providing high-quality health and social care to people in their homes wherever possible, delivered by our integrated community teams and rapid response teams."

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