Hospital ordered to reduce bed blockers

WEST Suffolk Hospital has been ordered to do more to reduce the number of bed blockers.

Rebecca Lefort

WEST Suffolk Hospital has been ordered to do more to reduce the number of bed blockers.

The Bury St Edmunds hospital has been given a performance notice because it has not done enough to tackle delayed transfers of care - when patients are not moved quickly enough through the healthcare system.

Commissioners NHS Suffolk, which issued the hospital with the warning, has pledged to make tackling the problem a top priority.

Delays in moving people from hospital once their care has finished can arise because there are not enough community beds available.

A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital said they were in discussion with NHS Suffolk regarding 'timely discharge'.

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“We know that NHS Suffolk recognises the need to enhance the availability of community services in the west of the county and is taking positive action to address this."

Tracy Dowling, director of strategic commissioning at NHS Suffolk, said: “Over recent years the number of patients whose discharge from hospital is delayed has improved significantly.

“NHS Suffolk, in partnership with Suffolk County Council and all NHS provider organisations, has pledged to make further improvements this year as part of the urgent care strategic plan.

“The approach will include how organisations work together to ensure that capacity in all health and social care is available to meet patient needs as they arise.”

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council's adult and community services chief, added the council and hospitals had worked very hard to drive down the number of delayed transfers.

He said: “We have got the numbers down from the 20s and sometimes 30s in 2006/07 to single figures in recent weeks.”