Magazine article Public Finance

Wales Told to Cut Bed Blocking

Magazine article Public Finance

Wales Told to Cut Bed Blocking

Article excerpt

Delayed discharge from hospital is compromising the health and independence of vulnerable older people and damaging wider health service delivery, according to a hard-hitting report by the Wales Audit Office.

The report found that bed blocking in Cardiff and the Vale, Gwent and Carmarthenshire cost £69m in 2006-07, of which £26m could have been better spent elsewhere.

Auditors discovered that delays - between 55 to 82 days frequently resulted from the transfer of patients from health to social care services.

The report also criticised systems of measuring delayed transfers, which actually mask the real extent of bed blocking In some areas, there is an agreed period after a patient is declared fit for discharge before they are even counted. The Audit Office recommended that these local agreements be scrapped.

While the overall trend in Wales has gone down over the last two years, the number of hospital bed-days occupied has increased by 2%. So fewer patients are delayed - but for longer. …

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