Two Chesterfield Royal patients were sent to Bradford and Weston-super-Mare for treatment due to mental health bed shortages

Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

A Chesterfield Royal patient was sent 65 miles to Bradford for treatment due to mental health bed shortages, just weeks after a patient was sent 180 miles to Weston-super-Mare.

The organisation responsible for the hospital, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, pointed to a larger issue with mental health bed shortages.

News of the incidents was reported in papers published by the Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group in June and July.

June’s report revealed that in March, a patient was waiting in Chesterfield Royal’s emergency department for 18 hours.

The patient’s case was ‘escalated’ and they were found a mental health bed in Weston-super-Mare due to a lack of bed availability.

In June the trust also said that there had been another incident in which a patient was left waiting for more than 12 hours – also due to a lack of mental health beds.

Now, the CCG has revealed that mental health bed shortages led to a Chesterfield Royal patient waiting in the emergency department for 32 hours for an appropriate psychiatric intensive care bed.

A bed was eventually found for the patient in Bradford.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “Like the rest of the country we’re experiencing continued demand for emergency care, which has not reduced since the winter months.

“On average, 20 years ago, every month, 4,000 patients arrived at our emergency department (ED).

“This average is now 7,500.

“In April 2019, eight patients waited longer than would normally be expected for a hospital admission (12 hours).

“If someone needs a specialist bed, for example for a particular critical condition or an acute mental health episode they remain within ED or emergency management unit.

“They are cared for by our professional clinical teams until that specialist bed can be sourced.

“We work closely with health and social care partners across the country to make this happen.

“Recently we submitted plans to NHS Improvement for a £23.9 million urgent care village project, which will expand our ED capacity and will include a dedicated mental health treatment area, for our colleagues in Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

“The aim of this – and the village concept – is to ensure waiting time standards are met, with patients getting the right care, in the right place at the right time in an increasingly pressurised service.”

The urgent care village plans would take three years to complete and would be built in five phases.

It aims to ‘bring elements of primary, emergency, frailty and paediatric care together – to improve services for patients and staff as demand for care continues to rise’.

The trust says the project would ‘increase the size of our Emergency Department, includes a paediatric assessment and frailty unit and will improve flow across the hospital – providing the right care, in the right place for the 90,000 patients who come to us each year – whether by ambulance or walk-in’.

The development also includes a purpose-built pharmacy to provide both hospital and GP patients with prescriptions.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service