Bed-blocking crisis worsens30th March 2011
Bed blocking across Oxfordshire is a growing problem, according to new figures.
Despite assurances from health chiefs that the problem was easing, latest data shows that for February the number of bed-blockers hit 137, up from 93 in January and 87 in December and was again approaching last October’s peak when hospitals in the county were dealing with 175 bed-blockers.
Earlier this year non-urgent operations were cancelled at the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals, as well as Banbury’s Horton, because of a bed shortage.
Oxfordshire County Council Labour member John Sanders said: “These figures are bad. We had reassurance they were going to improve and they have not. I think we should be told why they have not improved. It is not acceptable for Oxfordshire to be scraping along the bottom.”
Last year Oxfordshire County Council was fined £10,000 by the Royal Berkshire Hospital, which claimed it was not doing enough to prevent bed-blocking by tackling a lack of care provision.
However, the county council insisted it was only partially responsible for the delays and that some were the direct responsibility of the NHS.
A spokesman said: “Adult social care delays – the ones which the county council is directly responsible for – have dramatically reduced from a peak in October last year of nearly a hundred to a point in February where just 39 of the 137 delays recorded were the direct responsibility of the county council.”
NHS Oxfordshire said that the problem lay with demand for community services outstripping availability.
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