600 Medically Fit Patients Stuck in NI Hospitals Due to Lack of Discharge Options…

Over in  the Irish News Allan Preston has a story on bed blocking in the health service:

More than 600 hospital beds in Northern Ireland were occupied by patients deemed fit for discharge on a single day last month, new figures have revealed.
On March 15, the five health trusts had a total of 628 patients ready to leave hospital – with a shortage of community places among the main problems.

Belfast Trust had the highest number (150) followed by the Southern Trust (149), Western Trust (148), Northern Trust 114) and South Eastern (67) with the lowest.
DUP MLA Diane Dodds, who uncovered the figures, said it was “a travesty” and similar to closing an acute hospital.

It is the latest snapshot of a health service in crisis, with the Health Minister Robin Swann stating last month that the risks of service breakdown were real and growing in several areas as he was “looking down the barrel of an inadequate budget” while need increases.

This is a very frustrating experience for everyone. The hospitals have beds tied up that could be going to other patients, and I assume the patient would be more than keen to get out of the hospital.

It also shows how interconnected our health service is. As GP services struggle, more people go straight to hospital, adding pressure to an already burdened system. On the other end, if there is nowhere for fit patients to go, this clogs up the whole system.

Meanwhile, over at the BBC, a pensioner has described spending six days receiving treatment in a hospital staff locker room as like being in a dungeon:

Keith Moore, 77, went to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry on 5 April after experiencing a build-up of fluid in his feet caused by a suspected infection.

He told BBC News NI his room lacked windows, a sink, a toilet and did not have a door.

“It was like a dungeon, it was worse than a dungeon,” he said.

The Department of Health (DoH) said it was “concerned” by the experiences described by Mr Moore.

It said it would be carrying out a review.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) said it was “acutely aware of the continuing challenges and extreme pressures” in hospitals, but could not comment on individual cases due to confidentiality.

Mr Moore’s experience comes after 23-year-old Zoe Carlin spent nine days in what is understood to be the same room back in March.

She described her own experience as “dehumanising”.

Like Zoe Carlin, Keith Moore had to ring a bell to get attention from the nurses

“They gave me a bell to ring when I needed someone,” he said.

I do not envy Health Minister Robin Swann, the challenges are immense.

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