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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 January, 2004, 10:28 GMT
Home care plan to reduce bed-blocking
More than 40% of patients in acute wards do not need to be there
Plans to have more elderly people cared for in their own homes could free up about 100 hospital beds, health bosses say.

NHS chiefs in Oxfordshire are looking at ways of providing more staff and equipment that will help patients be treated at home and clear bed-blocking.

They are also looking at expanding the number of nursing home beds in the region.

The move comes after a report in September revealed that more than 40% of patients in Oxfordshire's acute wards did not need to be there.

Trust chief executive Andrea Young said: "Many older patients respond better to care in their own home or in the community and would prefer not to be admitted to hospital unless absolutely necessary.

Acute hospital services are vital for older people when they are ill but equally important is ensuring we have top quality provision in a community setting to enable people to get home more quickly
Trust chief executive Andrea Young
"If we can provide better community care packages we can free up acute geratology beds for patients that really need to be in hospital."

Already, 75,000 has been invested in intermediate care at home over the past year, with another 75,000 earmarked for the next financial year.

The trust's review will be carried out throughout 2004 with the aid of the county council and Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust.

Chief executive of the Radcliffe Trust Trevor Campbell Davis said: "We know that every day around 100 patients in our beds do not need to be in hospital and would be better cared for closer to home."

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