NHS England: A Call to Action
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Bed Blocking

Hi, I am an undergraduate Journalism student studying at City University and I am currently writing an article about 'bed blocking' within the NHS. I would be extremely grateful if you would take the time to answer a few questions on the subject, if possible.. 

-Is bed blocking lowering the speed and efficiency of treatment within the NHS and do you see this problem as increasing due to tory cuts to local councils and social care budgets? 

-What should, in your opinion, be done about ‘bed blocking’ – how can we safely reduce the amount of ‘bed blockers?’ 

-Do you think the extra ‘£10 billion a year’ promised by the Autumn statement will help reduce bed blocking?

-Does leaving elderly/vulnerable patients in hospital beds longer than necessary cause a greater risk of infection?

-Have you seen an increase/decline in bed blocking over the past year? 

Kind regards, 

Mollie Zsigo 

BA Journalism, City University London

8 Replies

In answer to your questions from a member of the public 

1. I recently saw public data showing the UK being amongst the lowest days per hospital stay  so in that respect the NHS uses hospital beds efficiently - therefore delayed discharges (DD) will reduce efficiency in numerical terms. 

Will council funding cuts exacerbate the problem - yes unless social care is supported.

Don't forget that locally NHS and Social Services now work together, or should be doing so - Health & Well Being Boards and CCGs/Social Services Depts. The NHS with ring fenced finances could increase community care funding if it saved the more costly hospital expenditure - CCGs commission both community and hospital care . There will be scope for jointly funding projects that improve the system.

2. Reducing DDs will take concerted effort by all - if it was easy it would be sorted by now.  The CCGs are key they need to be proactive and ensure facilities outside of hospital are suitable and available. CCGs should be working with Social Servcies to produce the most cost effective solution overall, whilst being acceptable to the patient.

3. DDs will have a detrimental effect upon the patient over and above infection risk, namely institutionalisation of the patient reducing self confidence and of muscle tone.



As an older disabled person I think the bed blocking situation is caused by cuts in services resulting in less staff to carry out community care. Some elderly are spending months in Hospital whilst being assessed while others in temporary crisis go home with no care what so ever. Long and short term hospital care often results in infection, placing more work load on the community care teams and added stress for patient and family.Bed blocking in some cases has become more prevalent in the last year, but on the other side many patients in the community who are older are being left without care to a degree that could on occasions border on neglect by the services. Please remember too we have a larger elderly population who are often of a much more mature age than in passed generations. Hope this helps as I already represent the voices of older people in my city and feel our needs are not being met in many quarters due to funds going to willy nilly research projects which often don't meet fruition due to lack of finances. Sorry don't mean to offend but that is my experience as an older person, walking on rough pavements, with little seating, closed or run down toilet facilities, waiting several weeks for doctors appointments  and only able to go to hospital in an emergency. Oh and I live in a student city where more priority is given to students as the up and coming next generation.


Hi molliezz, I am happy to comment, but would like to know if you want comments from people like me!   Because I am a retired NHS insider.  I am also outside England and, as you probably know, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have devolved management of NHS organisations that are separate from England's.  If your survey criteria could include comments from someone in my circumstances, I will happily send them.  But would prefer to send them directly to you at your university under my own name rather than publish them on a forum for slimmers.



 This is the NHS section  of the  Healthunlocked website, which encompasses many specialised forums for all types of medical issues, besides weight loss.  This collection of forums is an important source of support and information to it's many users.  You could have PM'd ( Private Messaged ) the poster with your comments instead.


Thank you angelite, your comment is so helpful.  Relatively new to this marvellously interactively designed site.  So I will do that.  Thank you for taking the time to enlighten me.  I will get right on this over the weekend, as she may be an undergrad on a tight schedule with her project.  



I was a patient on a ward which admitted a dementia patient who had had a fall. Her DD was because she required a care package which took ages to arrange. Hopefully the new 'working together' with social services will help. I mourn the demise of cottage hospitals which were the caring half-way house.  I would welcome a modern version.


The attitude is appalling typical of this country funding using the average so anyone needing healthcare mor i.e.: elderly & disabled and those without diagnosis with multi conditions seem to be regarded as a burden so system allows the abuse especially when issues and concerns raised.Disgraceful! !

This can be seen by the powers that be and administrations are in the control of Insurance Companies not wanting risk .So Drs no longer take their hippoicratic oath so can work in public and private systems, contracted in so not full time .

This can be seen in how hospitals are accessed when deliberately not allowing referral and follow up cutting on cuts 3x at least .In and the most experience Specialist saw you in and out overseeing the dept.while researched the diagnosis which could involve numerous departments .Although there was much less money people were treated with respect & dignity & assisted socially whether rich or poor.They were much happier and lived longer. Many of policies & procedures are made on questionable invented statistics which do not make sense: ignore chronic conditions, antibiotic, low priority [ disability] .

Health is as much of an art as a science and at its core at all levels the Doctor should research and oversee those assisting with testing who may have a remit.Now they cannot even follow NHS Constitution in their 10 min appt.

Now in hospital depts and some GP surgeries you are met by a Registrar [ student] who writes own what you say often omitting or not correct.It is then sent back to your GP who has acquired another name who point blank refuse to assist further blaming you for all appt .Now they are not reading these letters or Recording A&E or out of hrs incidents .When you protest you are sent on your way as too risky .If you write down what has happened e.g.: Choices you are moderated off or find yourself libelled by those who are supposed to investigate.


PS I am a potential bed blocker .There is more . This is outright bullying and discrimination , the latest GP had never met before agreed with glee rubbing his hands smiling, as obviously directed .

I shouldn't feel outraged and frightened and abused asking a GP to assist who enjoyed refusing & wasting my time .

Even when their delay means no provision for conditions and disability lipo-lymphoedema that may have to fund myself going abroad due to discrimination re: private hospitals too.


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