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Over 50 years worth of Shropshire hospital inpatient beds lost in a single year!

21st June 2022

Shropshire 'Healthy Greens' show that the Johnson Government fails to ensure best care for Shropshire emergency patients.

We emphasise again; not enough clinicians, not enough hospital beds and, not enough community support, home care, nor residential care capacity to meet Shropshire patients' needs.

South Shropshire Green Party 'Healthy Greens' team have found that, over a recent 12 month period, the delayed discharges of patients following their Shropshire main hospitals' treatments amount to the equivalent of the loss of 53 years of unavailable but vitally needed inpatient hospital bed capacity !

In 12 months to October last year, 19,560 bed days were lost for incoming patients. Recovering patients, though fit to move from hospital, are unable to be discharged to a clinically safe setting. These lost bed days could and should have accommodated 4347 patients leaving A&E (for a national average 4.5 day's inpatient stay.) That's 12 patients who cannot be moved from A&E to inpatients' beds every single day !

This is mostly not the fault of the main hospitals, which naturally must ensure patients are discharged to a safe setting. It is the failure of Government, in the 5th wealthiest economy in the world, to ensure enough appropriate 'step-down' provision for recovering patients. The care sector in Shropshire is in severe stress from patients' care needs not being met with adequate supply.

Shropshire Councillor and former A&E Sister Julia Evans said "No wonder our Shropshire A&E's cannot meet the national target to transfer patients into a hospital bed. Over 12 months over14,000 patients could not be moved from A&E into inpatients. So the way out of A&E is blocked, which means that the way into A&E is blocked, so ambulances cannot unload seriously ill patients into A&E, so ambulances queue outside our two emergency hospitals and as a consequence unavailable to attend the next seriously ill or injured patient."

"What a terrible mess, delivering unacceptable stress for patients their families and valiant medical staff and delayed emergency care with fatal risks."

Healthy Greens' Co-lead and senior nurse Clare Nash, adds - "If the situation at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) was not bad enough for patients and pressured clinicians, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust also had significant delays in the 12 months to December 2021. More than 3/4 of patients were occupying rehabilitation beds when fit enough to move-on elsewhere. 30 of these patients were 'super-stranded' - still in hospital some 3 weeks after being assessed as fit for discharge! Again lack of rehabilitation and social care capacity was the cause, and remains unacceptably so today".

John Crowe, Co-lead of 'Healthy Greens' insists, - "Shropshire's hospital managers and board members and Chairs have long known from their own data, that the knotted string of bottlenecks within the patient's hospital journey arises from lack of social care capacity into which to discharge recovering patients. This then continues to result in the ongoing failure of ambulance availability to respond to emergencies. Q.E.D !"

"Shropshire's Health Trust Chairs and Board members must adopt a much stronger voice to ensure their hospitals can discharge patients as soon as fit enough. Also, Shropshire Council, and Telford and Wrekin Council must 'do what it takes' together with our 5 Shropshire MPs to provide sufficient appropriate capacity to put right this for-ever system failure."

Cllr. Evans and the Shropshire Greens 'Healthy Greens' team have written to all 5 Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin MPs asking what actions are they pursuing to deal with this chronic, unacceptable, and dangerous under-performance.


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