Fears over faster patient discharging at Wigan hospitals

Patients blocked 14 beds a day at Wigan’s hospitals before the coronavirus pandemic struck – but a Government cash injection could see  quicker discharging as Covid-19 spreads.
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Cabinet ministers announced recently that £2.9bn in funding would help patients who no longer need urgent hospital treatment return home, to free up 15,000 vital beds across England.

Data from NHS England reveals patients at the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust spent 447 days waiting to be discharged or transferred to a different care facility in January this year – 163 more than in January 2019.

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​The figures show that 54 per cent of these delays were caused by problems with social care, which can include hold-ups in setting up community care or special equipment at home.

Wigan InfirmaryWigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

​A further 46 per cent were caused by NHS-specific problems, such as waiting for a bed to open up in a rehabilitation centre or mental health hospital.

A delayed transfer of care occurs when an adult patient remains in a bed after being officially declared safe for transfer by both a doctor and a multidisciplinary team.

Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, warned that patients should only be discharged when it is clinically safe and with support at home.

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She said: “Very recent figures from England’s NHS showed a continued increase in the number of unnecessary days patients spent in hospital. Even during normal times this would be deeply concerning.

Patients discharged too soon are more likely to need readmission.”

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