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Friday, 15 June, 2001, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Care crisis blocks beds
Hospital ward
A quarter of all beds could be blocked by the elderly
Hundreds of hospital beds are blocked by elderly patients who are fit to leave, because of a funding crisis in Birmingham City Council.

Already a tenth of the city's beds are blocked to other patients.

Every month 40 more patients are being forced to stay in hospitals because the city council cannot afford their care when they leave.

There are fears that a quarter of Birmingham's 2,650 hospital beds could be blocked by this time next year.

No funding

Many of the patients cannot take up vacant places in residential homes because there is no money to pay for their keep.


It is leading to meltdown of the city's acute hospital services

Spokesman, Birmingham Health Authority

Others need help in their own homes, but social services are unable to provide funding.

At present 236 acute hospital beds are blocked and hospitals are paying for a further 83 patients to stay in non-acute beds.

A spokesman for Birmingham Health Authority told BBC News Online: "It is leading to meltdown of the city's acute hospital services.

"The estimate is that by this time next year, 25% of the beds will be blocked in the city."


"The fact that we are caring for more people than ever before is placing extreme pressure on social services budgets across the country.

Sandra Taylor, Director of Birmingham Social Services

Some hospitals have had to reopen their winter wards and are paying for elderly patients to stay there.

Sandra Taylor, Director of Birmingham Social Services said: " Whilst not all beds are blocked by Birmingham patients or by people who are waiting for funding for care packages from Birmingham Social Services, it is the case that a large number are.

"The fact that we are caring for more people than ever before is clearly placing extreme pressure on social services budgets across the country.

"In Birmingham we have allocated an extra 2.9m and are spending above the government's assessment level - but this is still not enough for us to meet all the demands."

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02 Jun 01 | Health
Road protest over care homes
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