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Hospitals will struggle to cope with bed pressures

Hospitals will struggle to cope with bed pressures
11th December 2015

A report from Nuffield Trust has found that just 3.6 per cent of patients account for over a third of hospital beds

Nuffield Trust has published the findings in response to the latest monthly performance statistics from NHS England.

The performance statistics indicate that there are serious delays in the transfers of care days. These delays represent elderly and frail people in their thousands who are unable to be discharged to community services, despite having finished their medical treatment.

The Independent newspaper has called this problem "bed blocking" by the NHS, which should be releasing elderly people into the community instead of turning away other patients who need beds.

Nuffield Trust has blamed the bed-blocking figures on care budget cuts made by the NHS, which were partly responsible for days of delayed admissions to hospital last year, which affected more than 5,300 patients.

Speaking on the problem, Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards said: "It's extremely worrying, but not surprising, that delayed transfers of care days have gone up by over 12,000 in just a single month."

He continued on to say that there wasn't enough support for the elderly to return to their homes when "£1.7 billion has been cut from local councils' social care budgets since 2010".

The British Alzheimer's Society has also reported its concern on the issue, commenting that the NHS reached a point of crisis in 2014, despite having received extra funding from the Department of Health.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer's Society, said that patients shouldn't be refused beds on the basis that they are given to sufferers of dementia.

He said that inadequate support in the community meant that when they leave hospital "they are frequently in worse health than when they arrived".

Mr Hughes added that the extra beds that are over occupied and in "cost the NHS £265 million a year".

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