Bed blocking increases by 69 per cent as prevention scheme fails

A scheme launched by health organisations in Cornwall to tackle the problem of hospital bed blocking actually saw numbers rise by 60 per cent in a year.

The scheme was initially intended to reduce bed blocking, which is a caused by patients who are ready to leave hospital being delayed because there are no adequate care facilities, and was predicted to see the incidence decrease by a quarter.

The scheme involved seeing local council and health authorities pool their resources to ensure care packages were available for patients leaving hospitals in Cornwall.

However, a report to the Health and Well Being Board, revealed that from July to September a total of 3,815 days were lost due to problems with social care packages, compared with 2,255 days for the same period in 2014.

Graham Webster, vice-chairman of campaign group Health Initiative Cornwall, claimed the situation ‘has only got worse’.

He said: "The Better Care Fund was meant to take the bull by the horns and resolve this situation. We are blocking numerous beds with patients that don't need to be there."

A joint statement from Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow and health providers maintained that patients were discharged ‘as soon as clinically appropriate’.

Dr Iain Chorlton, chairman at NHS Kernow, said he was ‘confident that patient experience and outcomes will further improve’.

The Department for Health said it was up to local organisations to spend money effectively.

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