OPINION: Time to end bed blocks

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It is a sad state of affairs when a patient cannot leave hospital simply because they have no place to go.

The frustration of all concerned is obvious and the situation really should not have been allowed to happen.

After all, the patient has been treated, is fit to leave and has had enough time in hospital.

The doctors need the bed because this is the busiest time of year as temperatures plunge and viruses strike.

But nothing can be done because there is nowhere for the patient to go.

This is a classic example of how, in 2014, the cuts are hitting the most needy.

Care budgets have been slashed which means only the most vulnerable can be accommodated by the city council.

The specialist care many patients need is too complex for their families to deliver so they must have professional help. But who is going to pay for this?

The answer is never going to be an easy one when several agencies are involved.

But at the core of the issue is the uncomfortable truth that nobody wants to bear the burden at a time when budgets are already over-stretched.

Which leaves the NHS picking up the tab until a different solution is found.

This will not do.

It is a waste of NHS resources which does nobody any favours.

Such cases suggest it is time to reassess how we provide for the vulnerable.

There is no doubt it should be a priority, but clearly too many cases are slipping through the net.

We have to remember this when other cuts are considered.

So sadly, a library may have to close if we want to continue to protect the most vulnerable.

These are stark choices but it is the reality of 2014.

We already know families are making a tough choice when it comes to their budgets.

They expect our care organisations to help them in their worst hour and these bodies must step up to the mark so that there is no more bed blocking.