Welsh Government under fire over transfer delays
Labour’s track record of caring for dementia patients has been challenged after shocking new statistics revealed some were waiting up to 145 days to leave community hospitals because of a lack of alternative care.
Delayed Transfers of Care (DTOC) mean that dementia patients are unable to leave community beds because there is no appropriate care package for them in the community. This in turn puts huge pressures on those community hospitals.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, raised the matter in questions to the First Minister today after statistics revealed that dementia accounted for more than a third of all patients in some north Wales community hospitals.
Of the 440 beds in the 14 community hospitals in the North, 104 were dementia patients – making up 23.5% of all available beds. They include Llandudno hospital, which has 72 beds with 18 dementia patients; Eryri in Caernarfon had 15 out of 34 and Holywell had 14 out of 44.
Mr Gruffydd said, “Community hospitals provide an essential intermediary service between our main hospitals and care in the community. They are coming under increasing strain because the care available for dementia patients is just not there. That means hospitals are having to deal with increasing numbers of dementia patients who should not really be there.
“It can’t be right that some dementia patients are waiting 98 days, in one case in Holywell, or 145 days in another case in Chirk before being discharged from hospital. There is a failure to deliver the appropriate care in the community by the Welsh Government, which cannot wash its hands of this matter.
“It’s been running Betsi Cadwaladr health board directly for the past two-and-a-half years and, while staff are doing their utmost to provide a good service and in many departments are succeeding, there is a real sense that this cannot go on.
“Closing four community hospitals in the North a few years ago with the loss of about 50 beds didn’t help matters and ongoing staff shortages are making matters worse in those 14 community hospitals that are still open.
“I’m challenging the First Minister to get a grip with the worsening situation here in the North – the NHS is under huge strain because of increasing demand, lack of workforce planning and recruitment as well as a demoralised workforce that has faced pay caps and cuts in numbers.
“Plaid Cymru has long called for more training and recruitment of nurses and doctors to meet demand but we also want to see specific and specialised care for dementia sufferers in the community.”
The breakdown per hospital for dementia patients and Delayed Transfer of Care is below:
- Number of dementia patients and actual bed numbers per hospital
|Hospital||Number of Patients with dementia diagnosis||Actual (not published) bed numbers at time of Visit|
- Number of delayed transfer of care patients and longest wait for transfer per hospital.
|Hospital||Number of DTOC Patients||Longest length of stay (days)|