Bournemouth Hospital Threatens 'Bed-Blockers' Legal Action

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital's telling so-called 'bed blocking' patients they have a week to go home - or face possible legal action.

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Trust said it was enforcing the policy after a manager said families were offering excuses for not taking relatives back home, including redecorating their houses.

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital had 70 patients deemed fit enough to be discharged still in beds as of Wednesday.

A trust spokesman said:

``The idea of the Pan Dorset Managing Choice Policy is to ensure all patients who require care are in the most appropriate environment. Once medically fit for discharge, an acute hospital environment is not in the patient's best interests.

``In terms of the 'seven-day action', we are asking that when patients and their representatives are given names of care homes from the hospital staff, for example, they view these homes and come to a decision within seven calendar days.''

It comes as doctors warned up to half a million patients could be put at risk every year as hospitals struggle to admit patients to hospital wards from bursting A&E departments.

The College of Emergency Medicine (CEM) said patients could be at risk from ``exit blocking'', which occurs when emergency doctors recommend that a patient should be allocated a hospital bed, but they are unable to be admitted in a reasonable time frame.

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