It is reported in the national press that we have a “bed-blocking crisis” in the NHS which leaves pensioners stranded in hospital.  The issue shows no sign of abating and on current forecasts, will last at least another 5 years. Over the last 2 years the position has worsened and this has led to a committee of MPs branding the situation a “disgrace” with no progress having been made since the issue was looked at back in 2003.

Over the last 2 years, bed-blocking has risen by 33%. Jon Rouse, the director of social care, local government and care partnerships, told the committee of MPs that across the county there were “unacceptable variations of performance”.  Delays in coming out of hospital have increased over the last two years in 6 out of 10 authority areas.  Jon Rouse said, “The reasons for bed-blocking appear to be divided between the NHS not getting people ready for hospital discharge, and social care not being in place to support someone at home”.

Independent Living Owner, Mark Booker, commented, “Time and time again as a care provider we are told someone is coming home from Chorley hospital, only for it to be postponed.  The main reason seems to be that those responsible for ensuring that the correct medical and social care is in place at a person’s home haven’t, for whatever reason, sorted it out.  This means a person will be taking a valuable hospital bed when they would prefer to be cared for at their home.  As a care company this situation is very difficult to deal with because we can spend hours arranging home care only to find out at the last minute they are not coming home, and with no clear future date it is hard to plan.  The waste of resources due to a lack of planning and partnership working must be immense”.