Bed-blocking at Northamptonshire hospitals costs £50,000 every day

editorial image

Bed-blocking at the two main hospitals in Northamptonshire costs the tax payer £50,000 every day, according to a health watchdog.

The figure is the estimated daily cost of dealing with the urgent care challenges experienced by Northampton General and Kettering General, council social and home care, as well as the wider NHS, particularly the effect of bed-blocking.

Healthwatch board member Michael Darling said: “The quoted daily costs of £50,000 could be a variable figure, but might reduce if patient numbers could be reduced, which is the ultimate target.

“One can see how the current overall costs of £50,000 are regretfully being reached.”

The delays in exiting hospital include waiting for equipment and fittings in patients’ homes, waiting for funded care packages, trying to source medium-term care beds, patients needing specialist care at home either

provided by family or friends.

Delayed patients in hospital or intermediate care on a daily basis can total about 175 people.

Clinical staffing costs in hospitals daily between £150- £190 per patient depending on use of normal staff aor more expensive agency staff and specialist staff. The total estimated cost is £33,000.

Currently there are about 76 staff at various wage and banding levels involved directly with patient pathways, planned discharge.

The issue is a longstanding one.

County Hall is paying for a range of services to help to get well people out of hospital, including block-buying beds in care homes while they wait for a home care package.

Social services is also increasing resources for the voluntary sector so that they can assist people when they go home, as well as “working to build up domiciliary care” to help avoid unnecessary admissions.