More than 800 ‘medically fit’ patients still in hospital the week before Christmas


Just over 800 “medically fit” patients remained in hospital in the days leading up to Christmas.

The figure comes as hospital beds in Greater Manchester are currently “88% full”, according to the latest update from the area’s mayor, Andy Burnham.

One of the reasons for the overcrowding, health bosses have said in recent weeks, is an increase in the number of ‘medically fit’ patients being discharged but not being sent home – a rise that has occurred throughout the year.

The NHS continues to be under pressure across the board as the number of Covid hospitalizations rises, while the system faces a 10 per cent labor shortage, as staff fall ill or isolates himself.

READ MORE:The reasons why so many ‘medically fit for discharge‘ people are still in hospital beds

Health bosses confirmed that as of December 20, 803 patients were in hospitals in Greater Manchester who were medically fit to be discharged.

The number was included in a briefing on pressures on the health and care system, shared on December 23 by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

Patients stay in hospital for multiple reasons, such as choice of patient, carer and family, according to the partnership – a body that represents all major players in the health and wellbeing of people in the Greater Manchester.



Ambulances queue to bring patients inside the emergency department at the Royal Oldham Hospital

“As of December 20, 803 patients were in our hospitals who were medically fit to be discharged,” read the briefing, released Thursday. “There are various reasons for this, including the choice of the patient, caregiver or family.

“We would like to bring as many people home from hospital as possible for Christmas, with hospitals, social services and community services working closely together towards this end.

“No one will be sent home unless they are clinically ready, and only if all the appropriate support is in place.

“However, for many patients, home is the best recovery environment.

“It is important to be home and back to routine as soon as possible. There is strong evidence that patients recover faster in familiar home surroundings.”



“It’s an uncertain picture at the moment,” said Mayor Andy Burnham

Last month, the body of inpatients whose discharge from hospital has been delayed and who are classified as ‘medically fit for discharge’ rose steadily throughout the year, although the exact number is not known. has not been shared.

Other reasons for delays include:

  • the impact of Covid has meant that some patients have become more serious and need more recovery time in hospital

  • increased number of patients with complex needs, so they need more support once they are discharged from hospital

  • manpower capability/ability to offload (level of seniority is required to confidently and safely offload patients)

Physicians addressing Manchester Evening News also expressed concern about the difficulty of releasing people due to a staffing crisis within social services, saying there is no place for patients to be safe once they are are good enough to leave.

Meanwhile, beds are desperately needed for Covid-19 patients as the region sees an increase in the number of people requiring hospitalization.

The number of weekly Covid admissions rose to 130 as of December 20, from 101 as of December 6.



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On December 21, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham gave an update on the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – adding that beds were at 88 per cent capacity that morning.

For now, the Manchester Evening News understand that health officials will not offload patients to hotels with live-in caregivers flown in to relive the strain on the NHS, as has been seen in the south of England.

But the area’s chief health officer, Sir Richard Leese, said anything above 85% is ‘extremely uncomfortable’ for hospitals and has a ripple effect on other services.

The lack of beds inside wards has seen ambulance queues form outside hospitals throughout the year, as paramedics wait for hours to transfer patients, often in corridors, when there is no free space.

Wait times in A&E have also skyrocketed, with the number of 12-hour waits increasing in many emergency departments.



Mr Richard Leese

Compounding the problems, staffing levels across the NHS are worrying health chiefs as the workforce is hit by a difficult combination of Covid cases and people in isolation, as well as other illnesses.

“We are looking at a staff absence rate of 10% in the NHS, around 7% in Greater Manchester Police, slightly higher in transport and Metrolink at 15%.

“But we haven’t felt the full effects of the Omicron wave yet, it’s just beginning and the impact on our hospitals is not yet fully known,” Mayor Burnham said.

In an attempt to prevent another tidal wave of Covid cases requiring hospitalization, health officials continue to encourage vaccination.

Sarah Price, acting director of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We continue to be concerned and vigilant about the impact the Omicron variant is having on local populations and NHS services.

“Coronavirus infection rates in Greater Manchester are below the English average, although the rate is rising rapidly – ​​so we need everyone to make sure they are fully vaccinated. Remember that if you have only received two doses of the vaccine, you also need a booster, as your level of protection will decrease over time.



Ambulances line up outside the Stepping Hill A&E department earlier this year

“There has already been an incredible response in Greater Manchester to the call to get vaccinated, but if you are one of those who have not yet been protected, don’t delay – we have set up vaccination clinics. additional vaccinations in the city-region, which means it’s now easier than ever to get a jab.

“I want everyone celebrating to have the best Christmas possible, but we can’t just throw caution to the wind. Please act sensibly, reduce social contact where you can, make sure you get Covid tests before you go. meet friends and family, wear face coverings if necessary, and remember the importance of washing your hands and getting fresh air in.”

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