'Fit' patients blocking 700 ward beds
THERE are still over 700 hospital beds blocked by patients who are fit for discharge while A&E trolley numbers remain high, it emerged yesterday.
The beds are occupied by patients who no longer need to be in an acute hospital wards but have nowhere suitable to go, such as a nursing home.
The Department of Health said at the end of January that 771 beds were occupied by "delayed discharges" -- 435 of which were in the main hospitals in Dublin.
This compares with 817 delayed discharges in November last year and 578 during the same month in 2010.
Nationally there were 358 people on trolleys yesterday.
A spokeswoman for the Department said the management and availability of acute beds to patients waiting on trolleys was "a complex matter".
There was "consistent work being done with community care and with residential facilities to facilitate the appropriate discharge of long-stay patients," she added.