More than 120 patients stuck in Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, despite being medically fit to leave

More than 120 patients are stuck in three local hospitals, despite being well enough to leave.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 9:00 am

Health chiefs in charge of Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, say they're struggling to provide enough beds for newly arrived sick people as a result.

The issue, known as bed-blocking, occurs when a patient is fit enough to be discharged, but does not have the care arrangements they need in place to ensure they're looked after.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which runs all three sites, says it's trying to alleviate the problems, with A&E departments still grappling with very high attendances.

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Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield

Speaking at a trust board meeting on Thursday, chief operating officer Trudie Davies told colleagues: "There’s a good proportion of beds that are being used by patients that don’t need to be in hospital.

"At the moment, we have 127 people who are medically fit for discharge.

"That’s despite some intense work.

"These are people who don't need to be in hospital, but still need to be cared for."

Dewsbury Hospital is also run by the trust.

The issue of bed blocking, which has affected hospitals up and the country in waves for several years, has added to the sense of unease within the NHS about the winter ahead.

Staff are bracing themselves for a potential further rise in Covid patients, as well as cases of seasonal flu and bugs, while wintry weather frequently results in more accidents and injuries.

NHS trusts are also still trying to catch up with non-urgent treatment and surgery that was postponed during the pandemic.

Ms Davies said there was a "perception" among some medically fit patients that hospital was the best place for them.

But she added: "I’d suggest that’s not the case while we have such high numbers needing emergency care.

"I’d hope we see an improvement soon, because how we deal with winter pressures is dependent on that flow and the opening of those beds."

There is hope among healthcare professionals that the new funding package for social care, announced by the government this week through a rise in National Insurance, will eventually trickle down into the system.

In theory, this will see patients' social care arrangements sorted more quickly, and in turn free up more hospital beds.

Local Democracy Reporting Service