Hospital staff have to complete 50 separate steps on average to discharge a patient, it has emerged, as the NHS grapples with a bed-blocking crisis.
On average, around 14,000 patients deemed fit to leave hospital are stuck in beds every day, according to the latest official figures. The congestion is helping to fuel the backlog in accident and emergency (A&E) departments, where more than 55,000 patients waited 12 hours or longer last month.
Steve Barclay, Health Secretary, announced an additional £250 million in funding last week to buy up care beds to help discharge thousands of patients.
But doctors, social care experts and families have warned discharges are being delayed by NHS “bureaucracy” and excessive form filling.
Dr Matt Kneale, co-chair of the Doctors’ Association UK and a junior doctor in Manchester, said patients are held up by “numerous bottlenecks” before being sent home.
“While social care shortages are the predominant issue, smaller factors stack up to create a big problem,” he told The Telegraph.
Many hospitals have limits on the times their pharmacies are open, he explained, meaning patients can often be stuck on the ward all day, or an extra night, waiting for their medication.
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Source: The Telegraph, 15 January 2023