Shropshire hospitals taking action on bed blocking
Health bosses say they are working together with councils and other organisations to ensure 'bed blocking' in the county's hospitals is kept to a minimum.
New figures from NHS England have shown that about 22 beds a day are occupied by patients who no longer need to be in hospital in Shropshire.
A combined 654 days were spent by patients across the county waiting to be discharged or transferred to a different care facility in September, an overall rise from 582 days in the previous month.
Health bosses say the reasons for delays often relate to patients with complex needs that must be met so that they can be discharged from hospital or transferred safely.
A spokesman from Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), said: “The delayed transfer of care figures show that during the current year the monthly number of delayed days has reduced. In Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, the two local authorities and NHS partners work together to make sure any delays are kept to a minimum to enable people to leave hospital as soon as they can.
"This is better for patients, can avoid a decline in health for some people and also may help speed up recovery.
"We know that no one wishes to stay in hospital longer than necessary. NHS and local authority partners, who work together as part of the STP, strive to make sure any delay is kept to a minimum and continue to review and change our processes as required to help reduce the amount of unnecessary time the patient stays in hospital.
High level needs
“For Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt (RJAH) Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, delays may, for example, include patients being discharged from the spinal injuries unit with high level needs and the right support or services need to be available to meet these.
"As a leading orthopaedic centre, RJAH treats many patients that live outside of the area and therefore works with a range of local authorities and other external agencies to make sure people return closer to home as soon as possible."
To reduce delays at both Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals, a number of initiatives have recently been introduced to help patients return home sooner, or support those to avoid hospital admission.
They include the launch of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Shropshire Council, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust and Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group frailty intervention team at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, in which health and social care professionals work together to get patients over the age of 75 discharged back home.
Health bosses say the success of the project has led to it being expanded to the Princess Royal Hospital.
Shropshire Council has also recently launched ‘Pathway Zero’ which aims to support discharge for people to their normal place of residence, who may be readmitted without support.