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Beds Crisis Forces Cash Injection

Coventry council officials are pumping an emergency £500,000 into social services following a hospital bed crisis at Walsgrave Hospital.

More than 100 beds needed for patients are currently being occupied by people who are awaiting discharge from hospital.

They are unable to leave because they need to be assessed by social workers. Many of the patients are elderly and cannot go home until their needs have been looked at.

A potential £5.6 million overspend by the city council's social services department has been blamed on the crisis.

To try and reduce costs, social services staff were told to stop carrying out assessments for 48 hours last week except in extreme cases. The city council insists that contrary to some reports, there were assessments on people during the stoppage.

But this meant that some people in hospital were not looked at to see what help they need to be able to go home.

A care assessment package has to be drawn up and put in place before they can leave. The 48-hour stoppage caused a backlog, which is being blamed for problems at Walsgrave.

Hospital boss David Loughton said Walsgrave could be on red alert by the end of the week if the patients were not dealt with. Operations were being cancelled because there were no beds available.

Council officials today held emergency meetings with senior executives from Coventry Health Authority and the NHS Trust.

£500,000 has been made available by the council to try and relieve the pressure from the situation.

A statement released by the city council this afternoon said:

“The money will enable measures to be taken in order to reduce the need for people to be admitted into hospital.

“People who previously received care before being admitted to hospital will continue to have care to enable them to leave hospital where their needs have not changed. People are already being discharged as a result of these actions.

“Any new care packages will be considered jointly with the Health Authority against the eligibility criteria in the context of the availability of finance.

“Care assessments have now been resumed at the hospital although it will take a number of days for things to get back to normal.

“Coventry City Council will continue to work closely with the Health Authority and Trusts to ensure a joint approach to health and social services that benefits all service users and patients.”

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 20 Sep 00
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