Wiltshire NHS hit by further ‘bed blocking’ costs

Written by Tony Millett on .

Fragmented NHSFragmented NHSThe number of cases of ‘bed blocking’ in Wiltshire has increased again.  Following our report last week that ‘delayed transfers of care’ (or DTOCs as 'bed blockers' are now known) had risen and were alarming directors and executives at NHS Wiltshire, Marlborough News Online asked for the latest figures. 

These figures compiled by NHS Wiltshire (the Primary care Trust) show that for the week up to midnight on Thursday, July 26, there were seventy-four patients whose treatment was complete but who were still occupying beds in acute, community or trust hospitals.  That’s an increase of seven over the week. 

This was sixty-four more than NHS Wiltshire had planned for. 

While NHS Wiltshire is responsible for and pays for patients’ treatment in hospital, those patients who cannot simply go home at the end of their hospital treatment and need social care become the responsibility of Wiltshire Council once they are ready to be discharged.

Of those seventy-four patients, thirty-seven were waiting for Wiltshire Council to find them care home places.  A further eleven were waiting for assessment by Wiltshire Council social workers to work out what level of care they needed once they left hospital.

That’s forty-eight DTOCs waiting for action by Wiltshire Council but costing NHS Wiltshire in lost hospital bed days.  The total cost to NHS Wiltshire’s budget was 363 lost bed days or an estimated £88,209.

The figures quoted in our previous report had been revealed at NHS Wiltshire board meeting.  They were disputed by Wiltshire Council even though the Council receive the weekly figures collated by NHS Wiltshire.

For the record the DTOCs were split as follows – showing also the change over the previous week’s figures: Community hospital beds – fourteen (down two); Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Mental Health Trust – eleven (up two); Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust – thirteen (up three); Royal United Hospital NHS Trust, Bath – twenty-one (down one); Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – fifteen (up five.)