Woman in bed in hospital

Staying in bed problems for local NHS


Hospitals in Epsom And St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust unable to discharge almost two thirds of patients. This is according to a national data collection exercise conducted by the BBC. There are variations in the data collection criteria between different NHS Trusts.

In Epsom And St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust between July 1 2022 and June 30 2023 on an average night 64.1% patients who had been identified as ready to be discharged that day were still occupying a bed at midnight.

This is 6.3 percentage points higher than the average figure for trusts across England (57.8%).

On 2 days 100% of patients classed as “no longer meeting the criteria” to be in hospital were still occupying beds at midnight. This means that on 1% of days for which data was provided, not a single patient was discharged.

The day when the most patients were left in hospital was Saturday October 22 2022 when 99 who could have been discharged were still in the hospital at the end of the day.

The proportion of patients ready to be discharged but still occupying beds was worst on Sundays, when 72.9% of patients identified as ready to be discharged that day were still occupying a bed at midnight.

A spokesperson for Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said:

“We do all we can to discharge medically-fit patients swiftly and safely, but unfortunately there are sometimes delays. Our hospitals are facing significant pressures and we are working hard to ease these – from providing more beds this winter, to continuing to work with our partners to find solutions.”

The Trust added further background information:

There are a number of reasons why patients who are medically fit remain in hospital. These could include, but are not limited to, needing a care package in place before returning home; waiting for a bed or space in another facility or nursing home; or needing additional therapy, such as physio, before being mobile enough to leave hospital.

We have received £4.5m of national funding to provide more beds in our hospitals this winter
Improving hospital discharge is one of our priorities. We have discharge wards to free up bed space, and employ people in dedicated roles that focus on discharging patients and improving patient flow earlier on in the day

We work with our community partners, Sutton Health and Care and Surrey Downs Health and Care. This includes identifying patients for their virtual wards, which allow patients to get the care they need at home safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital.

We also work closely with other partners, such as mental health and social care providers, to ensure people are being cared for in the most appropriate setting

Photo by RDNE Stock project

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