Chesterfield hospital struggles with Omicron influx as 124 beds are blocked by ‘medically fit’ patients

There are nine times the number of medically fit people blocking beds at Chesterfield Royal Hospital than there were before the start of the pandemic, as wards are inundated with Omicron-infected patients.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 11:29 am
Chesterfield Royal Hospital

In a board meeting of Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust yesterday (January 12), Deputy Chief Executive Berenice Groves revealed there were 124 patients classed as ‘medically fit for discharge’, meaning they are awaiting non-acute care services.

In January 2020, prior to the start of the pandemic, NHS England recorded only 14 beds throughout the organisation being blocked by people who were awaiting external care, known as ‘delayed transfer of care’ – this figure was just 11 in January 2019 and eight January 2018.

Ms Groves said the trust had been able to secure 50 additional nursing home beds to assist with the delays, as well as working with an independent provider to commission additional care packages for patients.

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She added: “Despite all the planning that was done, I think nobody expected the experience of up to 90 nursing and care homes being closed due to outbreaks and the difficulties with staffing that we’ve seen – the number of people who are leaving the domiciliary care market.

“So therefore the access to actual packages of care this year has been extremely challenging.”

Chief Nurse Krishna Kallianpur said the hospital was struggling with the number of patients who were coming in for treatment of other issues, only to test positive for Covid three to five days after admission.

Today (January 13) the trust has confirmed it is operating at 96.2 per cent capacity with 531 or its 552 beds, including 50 ‘escalation’ beds, occupied.

Of its total number of beds, 101 have been designated for Covid patients only, 80 of which are currently occupied.

This news comes as Derbyshire County Council continues its consultation over the potential closure of seven care homes across Derbyshire.

In an interview with the Derbyshire Times in December, cabinet member for adult care Councillor Natalie Hoy said she has been ‘assured’ that even if the homes were to close there would still be enough care home beds to meet the needs of the county.

Last week, the authority made an urgent plea to all of its 30,000 employees to volunteer at its care homes as they were struggling to function with 25 per cent of social care employees off sick or isolating.