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Bed blocking causes pressure increase in hospitals

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

It has recently been noted, by the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, that ‘bed blocking’ is becoming an increasing issue across the trusts’ three hospitals – resulting in additional pressure on the hospitals’ circulation. 

‘Bed blocking’ is a term used to describe the scenario, which many hospitals are currently faced with, whereby patients are unable to leave hospitals due to a lack in availability of external care when they leave.  

Highest figure in three years

Figures from April suggest that an average of 31 patients a day were awaiting discharge from any one of the trust’s three hospitals.  March, however, had a total of 24 patients a day awaiting discharge – which at the time was the highest figure in three years. These records have encouraged the trust to find a solution for this growing problem. 

Despite this alarming increase in statistics, the trust has highlighted a number of possible contributory factors – including the UK’s ageing population. Earlier in the year the trust’s hospitals had to deal with many problems including the Norovirus. This caused the trust to announce an internal major incident as it struggled to handle emergency admissions quickly. During April around 200 ambulanced has to wait more than half an hour before transferring their patients across to emergency department staff – a further 93 operations had to be cancelled at short notice

Dr Duncan Browne, divisional director for emergency medicine, said: “We need to find ways to manage patients who don’t need to be in hospital. We continue to work with our partners but it’s an ongoing problem with the ageing population.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust have stated that they are in the process of expanding their emergency departments while also reviewing staff levels in an attempt to solve the matter. 


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