Health bosses have turned to private care homes in a bid to ease a shortage of hospital beds across Sheffield.
The Porterbrook, in Crosspool, is one of a number of homes to be used and bosses say it has made 10 of its 44 beds available to the Northern General Hospital, to provide short-term care for patients who are taking up valuable beds.
It comes after The Star revealed that problems with bed blocking has led to a 75 per cent increase in the number of hospital operations being cancelled.
Hospital bosses said the increase was ‘predominantly’ down to a lack of available hospital beds, adding that bed shortages were linked to the increase in delays for social care and subsequent decrease in discharges and increased bed occupancy.
The issue is known as ‘bed-blocking’ in which medically-fit elderly people are stuck in hospital due to a lack of available care at home or in the community to allow them to be discharged.
The Porterbook, a new residential, nursing, palliative and respite care home, has made beds available after teaming up with the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group.
Patients will receive a therapy assessment from the team who will put together a care plan and arrange a final discharge home.
Daphney Nobelle, the Porterbook care home manager, said: “The Porterbrook staff is delighted to be able to do their bit to support the local hospital during its busiest time of year and the staff are keen to welcome our new ‘temporary residents’ and provide what they need to help get them back on their feet.”
It was revealed in November there is an estimated £107 million budget black hole for social care and public health services in South Yorkshire over the next four years.
Sheffield Council has already cut £352m from its budget since 2010 due to huge Government grant reductions and what it terms unavoidable financial pressures’ linked to increasing costs in providing services such as adult social care.
Dr StJohn Livesey, GP and clinical director for urgent care at NHS Sheffield CCG Group, said: “When patients no longer need to be in hospital there are a number of options for the next stage of their care.
“They could go home with some short-term health or social care support, they may need a permanent nursing or residential care home place or they may not need any further support. The type and amount of different care needed varies all the time and so this is continually monitored and adjusted.
“NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group and Sheffield Council make these decisions in response to information provided from a number of health providers including Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.
“In the busy winter months, it is not unusual for additional capacity to be provided and at Porterbrook this will mean additional short- term rehabilitation care being available to patients before they go back to their own home. This type of care does not need to be provided in a hospital setting.”
The authority is considering five years of extra council tax rises to help fund social care services.