Patients ready to be discharged from Blackpool Victoria Hospital into a care home won’t be given a choice of where they go, it was announced today.
The move comes amid ‘extraordinary’ pressure at the hospital, with bosses saying they need to shift bed-blockers – patients who are healthy enough to leave but are refusing to take the ‘next available’ nursing home bed.
They said ‘delays in families accepting community care options is having a significant impact on discharge and [the] flow of patients through the system’.
Chris Broadbent, discharge boss, said around 100 beds out of around 770 are filled with such people.
Chris Broadbent from Blackpool Victoria Hospital
While NHS guidelines say patients should get a choice of where they go for their ongoing care, the pressures of the pandemic and shortage of nursing home beds mean choice isn’t always possible.
Chris said: “We have to reduce choice because the number of beds that are available is very low.
“So what does that mean for you or your loved one? We look to discharge patients to the next available bed.
“Now this may not be your choice, it may not be the placement of your choice, but we look to discharge patients where there is a bed and capacity to take and can meet your relative’s or your need.
“When it comes to choice, we need communities to be forward-thinking and understanding, working with our teams to ensure there’s little delay in your pathway or your relative’s pathway.
“Choice is always given where it can be given, but where we have to reduce that and we go to the next available bed, we need help to relieve pressures within the hospital and ensure we have enough acute beds for those who need them the most.”
Last week, deputy medical director Dr Grahame Goode warned of the pressures on the Vic, saying: “In terms of the general picture, our emergency department is exceptionally busy.
“We declared a major internal incident last week due to the pressure in the hospital in terms of lack of beds and the pressure on the emergency department.
“We had 140 patients in our emergency department, which is a huge number for us, and we had as many as 13 ambulances waiting outside to deliver patients into the emergency departments.”
Think-tank The King’s Health fund said the NHS is ‘on its knees’ with ‘chronic workforce shortages’ heaping pressure on overstretched staff who are exhausted from the pandemic.
Dozens of people continue to be treated for Covid, with 23 deaths recorded in the seven days to last Wednesday.
A further briefing on the latest figures is expected later this afternoon.