Bed blocking solutions?


Much is written about hospitals being overloaded with patients waiting and being tended to in corridors because of bed blocking – people who are well enough to be discharged but are forced to remain in wards either because care in their own home or beds in care homes are not available.

Can’t Government see the contradictions of their pressures on hospitals dealing with patients and the continuing cuts in social care? No doubt top heavy management and high salaries may have something to do with lack of money but the biggest problem which government seems to be missing is their lack of understanding that good practice comes with joined up working, e.g. the NHS and Social Care go hand in hand and should work in tandem.

The ‘I’ reports that there has been a 17% reduction in social care spending for older people since 2009. It also,  (Friday February 17),  reports that “73 care homes closed or cancelled their registration” in the first six months of 2016, according to the Care Quality Commission and that 648 care home beds were lost due to closures between 2015 and 2016. Yet we have an increasing older generation that will often need care in later years.

I have read several opinions of people in ‘I’ and have discussed with friends that there is a fairly obvious solution, to us at least. Many seem to be happy to pay an extra 1p or 2p if it is ring fenced for the NHS/social care and I would think that earners of more than £100.000 would surely be prepared to pay 5p extra, (hopefully). Why is the government so reluctant to implement this, yet quite happy to pass health responsibilities to local councils when they are struggling already and therefore have to raise the council tax, which some of us can’t really afford ? I doubt if this will go to local hospitals.

I and a couple of friends had another idea. Why not put a donation box at the entrance of each ward, as they do in museums? I am sure that patients who had good care, or their relatives, would donate a few pounds when leaving. Staff in each ward could decide how to spend it, rather than management, whether to get equipment or pay for another nurse.  I wrote to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, suggesting this and offered to volunteer to organise counting the money and banking it. Sadly, the response was that it would be too complicated, was a safety issue and that the Friends of the Conquest are raising money. Why not do both?




Photo: library image


  1. Thanks Heidi for two good suggestions. Surely the bed blocking problem could be solved if the powers-that-be would just listen — and act?


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