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'Bed blocking' on the rise

5th January 2011

The Department of Health has said it is to provide extra funds to help hospitals deal with the issue of "bed blocking".

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The DH said it would provide £162 million in order to tackle the problem.

Bed blocking occurs when patients are healthy enough to return to their houses but cannot be discharged because of a lack of support at home.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said the most recent figures showed that 2,575 beds were not available due to "delayed transfers of care".

He added: "Older people often need particular support after a spell in hospital to settle back into their homes, recover their strength and regain their independence. This money will enable the NHS and social care to work better together for the benefit of patients."

The Guardian published the results of a poll of 502 doctors which showed that half thought bed blocking was a bigger problem than a year previously and 40% thought the situation had not seen any improvement.

Dr Mark Porter, the chairman of the BMA’s consultant’s committee, said the situation was "distressing for patients, of great concern to the medical profession and an organisational problem for the NHS".

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