Wards over ‘safe’ ca­pac­ity in sum­mer

Stockport Express - - News -

HOSPI­TAL wards in Stock­port ex­ceeded their safe ca­pac­ity be­tween July and Septem­ber – and the prob­lem is set to in­crease.

The sum­mer heat­wave put more strain than usual on hos­pi­tals, and NHS Providers, which rep­re­sents all trusts, warned pa­tient num­bers would prob­a­bly rise in win­ter.

Fig­ures from NHS Eng­land shows that, on av­er­age, 578 out of 666 beds in Stock­port NHS Foun­da­tion Trust were oc­cu­pied dur­ing the pe­riod, or 87 per cent, above the thresh­old of 85pc when pa­tient safety is con­sid­ered to be com­pro­mised. Five years ear­lier, bed oc­cu­pancy reached just 79pc.

A spokesman for Stock­port NHS Foun­da­tion Trust said: “We are aware our bed oc­cu­pancy rates are very high. A great pro­por­tion of our pa­tients are frail and el­derly, with com­plex con­di­tions that re­quire a lot of med­i­cal at­ten­tion and a longer stay in hospi­tal. This puts bed num­bers un­der pres­sure.

“We are work­ing to tackle this prob­lem. We now have an in­te­grated team at the hospi­tal, where health and so­cial care staff work to­gether to help en­sure pa­tients don’t stay in a hospi­tal bed longer than they need.

“We are work­ing with so­cial care, pri­mary care and GPs to en­sure that we can safely dis­charge peo­ple who are well enough with­out un­nec­es­sary de­lays.

“We sup­port the Home First ini­tia­tive, as­sess­ing peo­ple for care at home, which helps their mo­bil­ity and in­de­pen­dence. We have also im­proved sup­ported dis­charge for stroke and hip frac­ture pa­tients, and are work­ing with our part­ners to pro­vide en­hanced ser­vices closer to home to re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple need­ing emergency care.”

NHS Eng­land’s fig­ures may in fact un­der­es­ti­mate the crowd­ing prob­lem, be­cause the count is taken at mid­night, which is not a hospi­tal’s busiest time.

The data cov­ers pa­tients un­der a con­sul­tant’s care, but ex­cludes crit­i­cal care cases and those be­ing at­tended by nurse. Ba­bies’ cots are also ex­cluded.

Most of the beds in the Stock­port NHS Foun­da­tion Trust were re­served for pa­tients with gen­eral and acute ill­nesses, such as pneu­mo­nia or re­nal colic, and the rate of oc­cu­pancy for this was 89pc.

Am­ber Jab­bal, head of pol­icy at NHS Providers, said: “Bed oc­cu­pancy lev­els have re­mained high and this year’s heat­wave played a part in this, with in­creased emergency de­mand.

“This spike in de­mand has left ser­vices ‘run­ning hot’ even be­fore the win­ter months have started.”

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