Number of patients still in Wigan's hospitals despite being fit to leave is revealed
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Delayed discharges – also known as bed-blocking – happen when someone is well enough to leave hospital, but cannot for some reason, such as waiting for a bed in a care home or for adaptations to be made to their own property.
They can affect the flow of patients around the hospital, for example people may need to stay in the A&E department for longer because they are waiting for a bed to become available on a ward.
New data published by NHS England shows just how many people were stuck in hospitals run by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), despite being medically fit, in October.
Across the month, between 99 and 149 patients who “no longer meet the criteria to reside” were waiting to be discharged each day.
But on average just 15.7 per cent of these patients were able to go home.
This meant that patients were in hospital beds for hundreds of extra days, with the NHS England data showing there were 770 additional bed days for patients with a stay of more than a week in the first week of October.
The most common reason for delayed discharges for Wigan patients who had stayed for more than 14 days was that they were waiting for a bed elsewhere, such as a residential or nursing home.
Other reasons were waiting for a medical decision or intervention, waiting for equipment or adaptations to their home, or them or their family not agreeing with the plan to discharge.
The majority of patients went home without reablement support, the data shows.
Mary Fleming, WWL’s deputy chief executive, said: “At WWL we truly believe that the best place for our patients to continue their recovery is in the place that they call home. Unfortunately, while we aim to get our patients safely back home as quickly as possible, the increasing pressures across the health and social care system can mean that some of our patients will end up staying in hospital longer than they need to.
“The number of patients in acute hospital beds without a medical need continues to put pressure on our acute services. However, together with our system partners, we are committed to continuing to safely increase discharges and all work towards a ‘home first’ approach for our patients when safe to do so.
“We have also introduced a number of measures to help avoid hospital admission, including our virtual ward programme that monitor patients virtually with specialty teams and community partners helping our patients to recover in their own home, as well as our same-day emergency care (known as SDEC) which provides urgent assessment and treatment for patients who do not necessarily need an overnight stay in hospital.
“If your loved one is in hospital and is medically fit to be discharged, we ask that you work with us to help get them home or into the best place for them as soon as possible.”