Cornwall Council head promises to end hospital bed blocking

Andrew Kerr, the new chief executive at Cornwall Council has confirmed that he wants to stamp out the pressing issue of hospital bed blocking.

Towards the end of last year, initial promises were made to improve the situation by the council and Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH) following the cancellation of 14 operations in just one week.

Kerr has said that the council is continually looking to improve communications with hospitals in Cornwall in order to solve the problem.

Around 150 patients were “bed blocking” at RCH this week as they waited to be discharged – clearly illustrating the extent of the problem faced by the NHS in Cornwall. NHS figures show that the average number of blocked beds in hospitals across England is 101.

Mr Kerr told the BBC that the issue of bed blocking was “”not just a council problem,” but that health and social care “needed to be better integrated.” He confirmed that a system was being worked on which aimed to improve links between the hospital discharge system and social care.

Mr Kerr also confirmed that he was aiming to maintain a “caring council”, while at the same time making budget cuts of almost £200 million. Currently, he oversees a £1 billion budget, which is to see cuts of £196 million by the years 2018-19.

Spending cuts were necessary in order to protect frontline services, the council said, pledging to work with local councils and residents to give them a choice as to what was cut.