15 beds a day 'blocked' at Dorset County by patients fit for discharge

15 beds a day 'blocked' at Dorset County by patients fit for discharge

Published by The Wessex FM News Team at 7:31am 20th October 2019. (Updated at 6:31am 21st October 2019)

Patients fit to be discharged are taking up 15 beds each day at Dorset County Hospital.

NHS England figures show that in August, patients at the Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust spent a total of 468 days waiting to be discharged or transferred to a different care facility.

That's equivalent to over a year of waiting time.

Dorset County Hospital Entrance

A delayed transfer of care occurs when a patient remains in a bed after being officially declared safe for transfer by both a doctor and a multidisciplinary team, which could include social or mental health care workers.

Delays in transferring a patient between wards, or from one acute hospital to another, are not included.

National picture

Across England, an average of 4,802 beds were blocked each day in August 2019, resulting in almost 150,000 delayed days - equivalent to just under 408 years of lost time.

An NHS England spokesperson said:

"So far this year there have been 14,000 fewer bed days lost than last year, and the average number of people delayed every month has fallen by almost 100.

"Thanks to the hard work of NHS and social care staff over the last two and a half years considerably fewer people now experience a delay in leaving hospital, with the number of delayed discharges 28% lower in August 2019 than it was at its peak." 

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Little change

At Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, bed blocking has remained almost the same, from 16 beds each day in August 2018 to 15 this year.

A spokesperson for Dorset County Hospital said: “We are continuing to work closely with our colleagues in social care and community services to minimise delays in transferring patient care.”


Health implications

  • With elderly patients often stuck waiting to be signed off, there is concern over the impact delays can have on their health
  • According to the NHS, a hospital stay of more than 10 days for a person over 80 can lead to 10 years of muscle ageing
elderly person with hand on knee

'Ineffective coordination'

A report published last year by the Care Quality Commission found "too much ineffective coordination" of health and social care services in England.

Kate Terroni, chief inspector of adult social care for the CQC, said:

"We found positive outcomes for older people when leaders in local health and care organisations worked well together.

"But we also found too much poor practice where a lack of co-ordination and co-operation between services had led to fragmented care and badly affected people's experiences.

"When people can't access the services they need, the risk is that they are pushed into inappropriate care settings and stay there for too long rather than accessing the care they need within their community."