Care home woes see bed blocking on rise

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RESTRICTIONS on new admissions to city care homes due to concerns over standards are contributing to a spiralling bed-blocking crisis in the 
Capital.

New figures have revealed that the number of elderly patients from Edinburgh becoming stuck in hospital as there is nowhere to send them has hit its highest level in at least four years, despite pledges from the NHS and the city council to the address an issue which was today branded “enduring and unacceptable”.

Figures released by NHS Scotland show that in the three months to October this year, a third of the 100 patients across Scotland who were left to wait more than six weeks to be sent home from hospital after recovering were from Edinburgh – despite the city being home to just nine per cent of the country’s population.

Blocks on new admissions to three Bupa care homes have contributed to the sharp rise.

It is understood around 15 per cent of the city’s care home capacity has been left off-limits after concerns were raised over standards at Pentland Hill, Victoria Manor and Braid Hills homes, leaving the firm unable to admit new residents.

The city council and NHS Lothian said demand for services was rising and that they were working to address the increase in delayed discharges.

But Tory MSP and health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said the time had come for the Scottish Government to “knock some heads together”.

He said: “Having vulnerable patients trapped in hospitals is in no-one’s interests. It clogs up vital space, and makes for a miserable existence for the unfortunate individual in question. Patients and staff across the Lothians are getting well and truly fed-up with this enduring and unacceptable situation.”

Councillor Ricky Henderson, the city’s health leader, said there had been progress in dealing with the “multi-faceted” problem, although he admitted that the block on admissions to care homes had caused a headache.

“The council and NHS Lothian are in continuous dialogue about this,” he said. “We are looking at ways we can manage this better to make sure people get the most appropriate care. Informal feedback is that there are now promising signs, although we don’t want to take anything for granted. It’s not going to be solved overnight.

daniel.sanderson@edinburghnews.com