A BIG rise in patients stuck in Hampshire hospitals after they are ready to go home exposes a “crisis in care”, it has been claimed.
The number of “delayed days” – spent in hospital beds, because patients cannot be discharged – has soared by almost 38 per cent in just 12 months, new figures show.
Among Southampton residents, the number of days beds were blocked unnecessarily jumped from 525 in June last year to 684 last month, a rise of 30.3 per cent.
Across Hampshire, the increase was even higher at 34.3 per cent – up from 1,373 days to 1,844 in June this year.
On the Isle of Wight, there were 97 “delayed days” last month, an almost nine-fold increase on just 11 in the same period last year.
The figures cover delays after acute care only, involving surgery after severe injuries or illnesses, or to treat urgent conditions.
Liz Kendall, Labour’s care spokesman, said delayed discharges due to a lack of social care for people in their own homes was “at record levels”.
She said: “These figures are a stark illustration of the pressure that hospitals are under and the crisis in care that has developed under David Cameron.”
But Councillor Dave Shields, Southampton’s Cabinet member for social care, said there was “no single cause for delayed discharges”.
He added: “It could be down to a number of factors, including increased admissions, new staff training or an increased amount of patients needing post-discharge support.
“We are consistently working with our neighbouring councils and our local NHS partners to improve timely discharge arrangements.”
Local councils have warned they will be unable to meet the social care costs of an ageing population in the years to come, with savage grant cuts set to continue.
A spokesman for NHS England said local health leaders had been told to “renew their efforts to spot issues early and take action”.
He added: “It is important that all patients ready to leave hospital are able to do so at the earliest opportunity.
“The recently announced £3.8 billion Better Care Fund will help join up hospital, community, and social care, which, in turn, will help ensure patients are able to return to their homes as soon as they are fit and able to do so.”
Last year Southampton General Hospital drafted a list of measures designed to combat bed blocking.