Bed blockers rise
THE number of patients stuck needlessly in hospital beds continues to rise.
The level of bed blocking in East Sussex, or delayed discharges, as NHS bosses call it, is also still one of the worst in the country.
Sarah Valentine, director of commissioning and primary care for Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust (PCT), said: "The position at the hospital trust in January continued to show a significant overperformance. There was an increase in activity at the Conquest hospital in emergency admissions.
"Delayed discharges has been an ongoing problem for both the PCT, social services and the hospital trust.
"We need to put more resources in to reduce the number of bed blockers.
"During the last three months of 2006 there was some improvement in this area but levels have crept up again.
"The hospital trust has one of the highest levels of delayed discharges. We need to understand what is happening and why it is only at the Conquest hospital."
The issue was raised by Hastings and Rother PCT's board meeting at St Peter's Community Centre in Bexhill on Wednesday.
Mrs Valentine's report said bed blocking levels in the area remained 'twice the national average'.
Her report also expressed concern at the increase in the number of short-stay patients in Accident and Emergency (A&E) at the Conquest.
Jayne Boyfield, director of community services for the PCT, said: "We have weekly meetings with East Sussex Hospitals Trust (ESHT) and look at every single patient stuck in hospital and find out why this is the case.
"I think significant progress has been made."
A spokesman for ESHT, which runs both the Conquest hospital and Eastbourne DGH, said the number of patients stuck in beds at the Conquest as of yesterday stood at 12. In Eastbourne the number was 18.
Commenting on A&E admissions, the spokesman said: "We use the short-stay beds in the A&E departments to allow observation of patients who are undergoing either a period of treatment, diagnosis or review and to ensure that their time in hospital is as comfortable as possible while they are on the care pathway."