Extra pressure on Royal Sussex County Hospital as 'bed-blocking' patients tie up resources (From The Argus)
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Extra pressure on Royal Sussex County Hospital as 'bed-blocking' patients tie up resources
Dozens of bed-blocking patients are languishing in hospital because nursing home and rehabilitation beds cannot be found for them.
The delays are putting extra pressure on both hospitals, which are already operating on red alert following an increase in demand this winter.
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Despite the pressures, about one in 15 of the 763 beds at both hospitals are currently filled by people who do not need to be there.
Some of the patients, many of whom are elderly, are also delayed because they are waiting for arrangements to be made to provide extra support in their own homes.
Bed shortages have a knock on effect on accident and emergency departments because it means patients face long waits for spaces to become available on wards.
The easier it is for staff to discharge patients who no longer need hospital care into a community bed, the quicker patients who need treatment can be admitted.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, is working with community organisations across the city to try to clear the backlog.
The trust and Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for making sure enough community beds are available in the city, were awarded £2.3 million extra Government funding to help ease pressure on the Royal Sussex this winter.
The CCG says it is hoping to temporarily increase the number of community beds in the city, which currently stands at 71, to help speed up the number of patients being discharged.
A hospital trust spokeswoman said yesterday: “Today there are around 50 patients in our beds who do need some sort of care but no longer need acute hospital care.
“This seriously impacts on our ability to keep the hospital working as it should and particularly to admit patients from the emergency department in a timely way.
“We are working extremely closely with all the organisations and agencies who provide nursing home and rehabilitation beds, and homecare packages, to reduce this number as quickly as possible.
“In the meantime some of the changes and improvements we have made over the last 12 months are helping us to better manage peaks in demand and pressure within the hospital.”
A spokeswoman for the CCG said: “Health and social care services are always under more pressure over winter and, in particular, over the Christmas period.
“As such we have planned for this and increased community beds and other services where possible to make the system more flexible.
“However this week there has been a larger than expected rise in patients needing rehabilitation beds, services at home and nursing home beds.
“As a result we are currently looking at increasing capacity in the community further for a short period but in the longer term we will continue to look at what else is needed in community services to ensure the system is able to be flexible even at very busy times.”
A campaign is being run urging people to consider alternatives to A&E this winter to help ease pressures.
For more details visit www.wecouldbeheroes.nhs.uk.
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