More than 3,000 hospital beds across NHS trusts in the UK are blocked every year by patients awaiting a nursing home placement, a new study has found.
Technology-enabled home care start-up Cera Care submitted Freedom of Information Requests to all NHS Trusts up and down the country to find out the number of beds blocked each year, the total number of days delayed due to beds being blocked and the reasons for this.
It found that 3,338 beds were blocked in 2018 because patients were awaiting a care home placement or availability.
This was the third biggest reason for bed blocking in 2018, behind ‘awaiting further non-acute NHS care’ (8,226 beds) and ‘patient or family choice’ (5,290).
However, the number of beds being blocked due to people waiting a care home placement has dropped from 2017 (4,311) and 2016 (5,200).
There were 29,374 beds blocked in UK hospitals in 2018, according to the study. On average, this works out to be 565 delayed discharges in UK hospitals every week.
Looking at individual NHS Trusts, this was the biggest problem in Plymouth, Leeds, Walsall, Bury and Stockton-on-Tees.
In Plymouth, delayed discharges caused 11,854 days’ worth of bed blocking in 2018, an 81% increase on 2017.
The cost per day of a delayed discharge bed varies between hospitals. For some this can be in the region of £400 to £500 every single day, with the average around £325.
For Liverpool Women’s Hospital, for example, the cost per day is £565, according to the study.