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85-year-olds hit hardest by delays in care

Statistics published by the Welsh Government on ‘delayed transfers of care’ show that Wales-wide figures for bed-blocking have risen by 9% in July compared to June.

In real terms, this equates to an extra 482 patients whose care was delayed by transfer setbacks.

Of this number, 132 patients were delayed on acute wards, 111 in mental health facilities, and 239 on community rehabilitation wards.

Delays predominately affected older patients; 37% of the total delays were made up of 85-year-olds, and 18% of 90-plus-year-olds.

The most common cause for delay was a health care reason, accounting for 28% of all delays, whilst community care reasons accounted for 25%.

Patients were delayed by an average of 24 days. The impact that this can have on an individual’s mobility and wellbeing is huge.

Commenting on the data, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Health, Angela Burns AM, said:

“Once again we’ve seen a concerning spike in the number of beds being blocked at Welsh hospitals.

“Bed-blocking is extremely costly for the NHS in Wales, but the real cost is the quality of life of the patients whom it affects – particularly the old and the vulnerable, who according to this data have been hardest by this latest round of delays.

“It is vital that they receive the treatment they need and deserve as quickly and efficiently as possible, given their specific needs.

“A more integrated approach between health and social care providers is needed to free up vital resources if the Welsh Government is serious about tackling this issue.”