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West Suffolk is best in country for unnecessary hospital stays

PUBLISHED: 16:34 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:35 08 August 2018

West Suffolk Hospital  Picture: GREGG BROWN

West Suffolk Hospital Picture: GREGG BROWN

West Suffolk is the best performing area in the country for minimising the amount of time patients stay in hospital longer than necessary.

Latest figures from NHS England show the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area has fewer excess bed delays – the term used to describe where people are still in hospital when they no longer need to be – for its size of population than any other CCG in the country.

The group says close working between health and social care organisations is one of the key reasons for this success.

In 2017, there were 12.2 excess bed days per 1000 population in west Suffolk, against a national average of 37.8.

The NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG area also performed much better than the national average at 31.3 excess bed days per 1000 population.

Some patients are well enough to leave hospital but may need time in a rehabilitation facility or require extra support at home.

In these circumstances, delays in organising this post-hospital care can result in a longer than necessary hospital stay.

Ed Garratt, chief officer for both CCGs, said: “This is a really great achievement which highlights how closer working between health and social care is having a positive effect on the lives of people in west Suffolk.

“We have worked in partnership with our NHS colleagues and Suffolk County Council to develop improved ways of working that have reduced duplication, saved time and helped patients get back to their home as quickly as possible.

“No one wants to be in hospital unnecessarily and it’s pleasing that we are helping people better recover in their own home. We’re also freeing up valuable bed space for those most in need.”

Helen Beck, chief operating officer at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re obviously delighted with these results, which go to show the impact positive joint working can have for our patients.

“Prolonged hospital stay and bed rest can lead to loss of muscle power, strength and abilities in patients of any age, so we aim to get patients who are well enough to leave hospital home as soon as possible as it’s best for them and their recovery.

“Becoming mobilised again after an illness is much easier in your own home, where you feel comfortable and are in your own surroundings with things to do.

“Many of our patients are elderly, and research indicates that for every 10 days of bed rest in hospital, the equivalent of 10 years of muscle ageing occurs in people over 80 years old, which shows the importance of getting up, getting dressed and keeping moving.”

Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for adult care, said: “These latest figures by NHS England prove we are achieving better outcomes for the people of Suffolk and we are delighted to be in this position.

“The council and the NHS are very committed to supporting older and disabled people in their own homes – it is what older people and their carers want.

“It is vital that people receive the right care in the right place at the right time.”

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