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

The number of inpatients whose discharge from hospital has been delayed and who are classified as “medically fit for discharge” has increased throughout the year, according to health bosses in the region.

Hospital beds in Greater Manchester are currently ’93 per cent full’, and city leaders say one of the factors driving overcrowding is the rise in the number of ‘medically fit’ patients at go out, but who are not sent home.

READ MORE:‘Serious concerns’ over winter NHS crisis – but calling the military will NOT help, council leader warns

Earlier this week, Greater Manchester Combined Authority health chief Sir Richard Leese told a press conference that the vast majority of patients awaiting discharge “don’t want to leave hospital”.

The precise number of patients fit enough to be discharged but remaining in hospitals is currently not shared. But other reasons for the increase have been revealed by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership – a body designed to foster communication between our region’s hospitals, doctors’ practices, paramedics and more.

Hospitals in Greater Manchester face increasing pressure

The partnership said “there are many reasons why” the number of inpatients whose discharge from hospital has been delayed and who are classified as “medically fit for discharge” is steadily increasing throughout the year.

They understand:

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

  • choice of patient, caregiver and family

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“Once people are no longer in need of dedicated hospital care, being at home or in a community setting is the best place to continue to recover,” the partnership added in a weekly report on NHS pressures, airs Thursday, October 19.

“However, it is natural that families, caregivers and patients sometimes perceive that the hospital is always the right place to be – even when it is not.”

Physicians addressing Manchester Evening News also spoke of 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 well enough to go.

However, Sir Richard says the vast majority of patients awaiting discharge “don’t want to leave hospital”.

He told a press conference: “In terms of hospital discharge, probably 65-75% of patients currently in hospital awaiting discharge are, they describe in the terminology, as ‘no reason to reside’. That is, they are not waiting for care packages, they can just go home.

“There are a whole host of reasons why people don’t want to leave hospitals. Very often, older people feel much safer where they are. There are a series of reasons we are working on. But this is a relatively minor issue related to the availability of care packages at the moment.

“It’s about persuading them to go home.”

The health official said hospital bosses were working ‘to speed up the discharge from hospital of people who are medically fit to be discharged’ to reduce pressure on the NHS.

The comments came as he expressed ‘serious concerns’ about the creaking system amid ‘unprecedented demand’ for people coming for treatment – most of whom are so seriously ill that the hospital is the right one place for them.

Have you been caught up in the NHS crisis? Email our health reporter at [email protected]

A spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said: “Like the rest of the country, Greater Manchester’s entire healthcare system is facing an almost unprecedented level of demand.

“Although we have seen the number of critically ill Covid-19 patients in our hospitals drop slightly, bed occupancy remains high – especially for this time of year. We are working hard to improve access to all health care services, but we expect the winter months to be very difficult.

“Patient safety remains our top priority, but everyone can help us by thinking about how they seek help when needed. Contacting NHS 111 or visiting NHS Online is the best way to find the right service for you if you are not dealing with a life-threatening emergency.

“Please also ensure that you have received both your Covid-19 and flu shots including the booster if you are now eligible. Staying as good as possible this winter is not just the best for you, but for everyone else in Greater Manchester.

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