Hospital reduces ‘bed-blocking’ but says there is still ‘a long way to go’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 May 2018

Weston General Hospital.

Weston General Hospital.

Archant

Weston General Hospital met three of its six targets last year – and other areas have shown signs of improvement.

Hospital bosses identified six areas to improve in 2017/18, and considers its actions to reduce patient ulcers and avoidable deaths plus make changes in organisational development to have been a success.

It still needs to improve its discharge rates, workforce development and further strengthen hospital governance – although it says there is evident improvement in those areas.

Bed-blocking

The draft audit report, provided to North Somerset Council, shows the hospital has been trying to find a way to tackle ‘bed-blocking’ which occurs when someone is healthy enough to leave but does not have somewhere to go.

Its target was to reduce the number of ‘bed days lost’ from 600 a month to 250 a month.

In February, it managed to get the number of bed days lost down to 318, but its report says ‘there is still a long way to go’.

It is working with partners to develop new pathways so patients can leave hospital, for example those who remain delirious after being ill.

The report says: “Currently there is no clear pathway for those patients and they remain in hospital until the delirium has resolved and they are thought to be fit for discharge.

So we are working with partners across mental health, community partnership and social services to agree a pathway to support these patients to leave hospital when they are no longer medically unwell.”

Cancelled operations

Operation cancellations in winter, when the hospital is under the most pressure, reduced significantly. In 2017/18, 2.5 per cent of surgeries were postponed compared to 6.95 per cent in 2016/17.

Infections

The hospital also recorded two incidents of an MRSA infection. It had not seen any MRSA cases in the previous 900 days.

Its report says: “Both cases were fully investigated and involved patients post-orthopaedic surgery.

“Learning has been identified around improving MRSA screening, labelling of MRSA screens and checking of results.”

Never events

The hospital had one ‘never event’ – an incident which the NHS says is serious and entirely preventable. This case involved oral medication which was not correctly administered.

Complaints

Complaints made to Weston General Hospital have reduced in the past 12 months, but concerns about medical treatment have risen.

Weston Area Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, received 235 formal complaints in 2017/18, down from 251 the year before.

A draft audit report shows a significant rise in complaints about staff attitude, doubling from six per cent in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 to 12 per cent of all complaints in 2017/18.

Medical treatment was the cause of 37.9 per cent of complaints – a rise from 24.7 per cent the year before.

Complaints about nursing care has fallen by 4.2 per cent to 8.7 per cent.

The hospital has set seven targets for 2018/19, which include improving dementia care, reducing harm from pressure damage and helping its workforce develop.

It will also aim to improve end of life care, reduce delays, reduce harm from medicines and improve its communication.

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