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Oxfordshire hospital bed-blocking figures down, but there’s more work to do
OXFORDSHIRE’S hospital bed-blocking figures have fallen but still remain among some of the highest in the country.
In June, a snapshot showed 128 people were bed blocked in Oxfordshire, a fall from 149 in April and May and 182 in March.
But that is still the third worst figures in the country, NHS England statistics show, with the county behind only Hertfordshire (152) and Birmingham (145).
Bed blocking happens when hospital patients are well enough to be discharged but cannot be discharged because social care arrangements have not been put in place.
Ann Tomline, from Long Wittenham, was bed blocked at the John Radcliffe Hospital after suffering a fall and damaging her ligaments in February.
She spent 36 hours in the Headington hospital because there were no beds in a community hospital.
Mrs Tomline said: “It is disgusting that the figure is so high.
“Until more money is put into this and the hospitals, the county council and the clinical commissioning group work together it is going to get worse.
“It is bad that elderly people who want to get home cannot because something has not been set up for them or there is nowhere for them to go if they need to go.”
Jacquie Pearce-Gervis, board member for acute care on new watchdog Healthwatch Oxfordshire, said: “It is encouraging that the figures are down, but it is still high.
“It is important that the figures come down because it is awful for elderly people to be stuck in hospital for weeks or months on end.”
The GP-led Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), which purchases healthcare, and Oxfordshire County Council, which runs adult social care, launched a new system, called discharge to assess, in April.
It involves people with care needs being discharged from hospital and being assessed when they get home, rather than in a hospital bed.
In June, OCCG chief executive Dr Stephen Richards, who vowed two years ago to tackle bed blocking “head-on”, admitted the number was still unacceptable.
Lorraine Foley, director of commissioning and partnerships at OCCG, said: “Oxfordshire health and social care organisations are continuing to work well together to make sure patients are cared for in the best place for them.
“This is not yet reflected in the numbers of delayed discharges we are seeing.
“We are getting detailed plans in place for winter and are confident that the extra effort and resources we are putting in will make a real difference.”
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