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Nearly half of trust’s beds filled by patients fit to be discharged

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A chief executive has described her ‘considerable regret’ that growing difficulty in discharging patients has resulted in nearly half of her trust’s inpatients being clinically ready to leave.

Debbie Richards, who leads Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust, a community and mental health provider, highlighted the issue at the trust’s board meeting last month, amid a “dearth of adult social care provision” across the country.

In her update to the board, Ms Richards said delays in finding onward care for patients awaiting discharge meant “almost 50 per cent of our community hospital beds are occupied by patients who have no medical need to be in hospital”.

In her report to the board, Ms Richards said: “Despite having over 5,000 care home beds in Cornwall, the majority of these are full, or care home providers are unable to offer beds because of a lack of staffing.

“Where there is capacity, this tends to be for lower-level residential beds where unfortunately there is much less demand.”

Siobhan Melia, chair of the NHS Community Network and CEO of Sussex Community FT, said the “dearth of adult social care provision” was the biggest limiting factor in discharging delayed patients home, followed by high staff vacancies and sickness absence."

She called for a national long-term funding settlement for social care and reform of the sector to address the key challenges.

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Source: HSJ, 10 May 2022

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