Community care beds hoped to help tackle ‘bed blocking’ woes of Leeds hospitals

Wharfedale Hospital, in Otley. Picture by James Hardisty.
Wharfedale Hospital, in Otley. Picture by James Hardisty.
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Dozens of intermediate care beds aimed at helping Leeds patients well enough to leave hospital wards back into their own homes look set to open in the Wharfe Valley.

The new 40-bed Community Intermediate Care (CIC) service at Wharfedale Hospital will aim to combat the £10million bill for ‘bed blocking’, where the discharge of patients from hospital is delayed due to issues like waiting for care home places or further care, paid by the NHS in Leeds over the last three years.

NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the NHS body responsible for managing community care contracts in Leeds, is hoping to finalise who will provide the care and how much it will cost over the coming months.

The move will make beds available for north and west Leeds residents deemed fit to leave primary care beds but who still need extra support for up to six weeks to help them recover after a hospital stay.

Sarah Lovell, associate director of commissioning at the CCG, said: “The additional beds will relieve pressure on traditional hospital wards, provide capacity right across the city, reduce waiting times and improve care.”

The new CIC service will be similar to that of the 40-bed service run from the South Leeds Independent Centre, in Beeston, which is part of Leeds’ current £8.4million annual investment in 161 CIC beds – a total the NHS and Leeds City Council hopes to increase to 200 within five years.

Almost 1,800 Leeds hospital patients had their transfer out of hospital delayed in 2014 due in part to waits for further non-acute NHS care such as intermediate beds.

Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland hopes the CIC beds are “introduced as soon as possible so that proper use is made of the hospital”.