Hospital bed shortages reflect "deepening social care crisis"

  • Date: 28 January 2022

NEARLY a third of patients in hospital for 21 days or more were fit for discharge as of the week 10-16 January 2022, according to figures from NHS England.

The latest Urgent and Emergency Care Daily Situation Report 2021-22 found that as a daily average, 17,541 patients stayed in hospital for 21 days or more and 6,495 of these long-stay patients were fit for discharge.

Only 656 patients on average were discharged daily, or one in 10.

Dr Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: "These data reflect the deepening social care crisis. We currently have the highest number of long stay patients (21 days or more) since winter 2017-18. Last week, on average, 6,500 beds were occupied by patients who are fit for discharge, and only one in 10 of these patients were able to be discharged daily (on average). All these patients will want to return home and to their communities, but they are unable to because there isn’t the support to aid them upon their discharge.

"There must be a system-wide effort and focus on discharging patients, but such effort will only translate to meaningful action if the government address and take urgent steps to resource social care. Freeing up these beds would help alleviate system pressures, particularly those on Emergency Departments, and promote vital flow throughout the hospital."

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