Thursday 22 February 2024
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Nottingham

180 ‘medically safe’ patients in Nottingham Hospitals cannot be discharged

180 patients are stuck in Nottingham’s main hospitals due to pressures on social care meaning they cannot be discharged.

Nottingham University Hospitals’ Chief Executive said around 180 patients who are deemed to be “medically safe” cannot be discharged.

The “systemic problem” is causing frustration among staff, he said.

National bed shortages in hospitals due to a lack of space in care homes or lack of social care services means beds are being ‘blocked’ by patients who are well enough to go home – but cannot leave until safe care is in place.

Mr Egginton added “patient hotels” – an idea which has been used in other parts of the country involving hotels being turned into healthcare facilities – will also be considered in the trust’s planning.

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Nottinghamshire County Council announced today that it plans to raise council tax – including by an extra three per cent for social care – from April.

Councillor Richard Jackson (Con) said the social care rise will be used to address problems with recruitment and retention within the care sector.

It will also be used to help cut an NHS backlog in routine operations and a rise in people waiting to be discharged into social care from hospitals.

Rupert Egginton, Chief Executive, said during the NUH board meeting on January 28: “We are incredibly busy as members of the board will know.

“The combination of the pandemic, the time of year with increased emergency activity through winter, the fact that our staff are not immune to Covid so there are high levels of absence at the moment, and also we’re struggling to discharge our patients as effectively as we’d want to as there are problems outside the hospital in care homes and so on.

“That leaves a high number of patients who are deemed to be medically safe but aren’t yet being discharged.

“The numbers are ranging between 180 and 190 or so. There’s a national effort to drive those numbers down because this is the capacity we want to use towards dealing with those waiting lists that have built up during the pandemic.

“That is causing frustration amongst our colleagues who work in those services.”

Nottingham City Council is also facing a ‘social care crisis’ in the city – and needs around 1,200 more home carers this year, and more than 7,000 in total over the next few years to fix the issue.

Mr Egginton added: “It is a systemic problem and one that needs to be dealt with by our whole system.

“It’s got a great deal of national attention because of the circumstances the NHS faces.

“There is a lot of work going on to maximise our local efforts. We have been having discharge events each week co-ordinated with external support to try to move people through.

“There’s an additional effort going on ahead of this weekend to try to make use of every out of hospital bed that’s being commissioned.

“It compromises other services in the hospital as we go through each winter and we need to move away from that.”

Rachel Eddie, Interim Chief Operating Officer, added: “So many of our patients are waiting for packages of care.

“Despite all of the pressures, we are still maintaining that real focus on discharge and getting patients ready to go home.”

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