Figures reveal Lincolnshire Hospitals run above target for bed occupancy

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An investigation into bed blocking has found that the trust which runs Lincolnshire’s hospitals is not meeting an internationally recognised level advised for safety.

The research has been carried out by the BBC which found that United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust had regularly gone above the advised 85 per cent target for bed occupancy during the winter period - with trust bosses admitting they were expecting the figure to be about 92 per cent, or more.

The figures are part of a series of investigations the BBC and found that nationally 137 out of 152 hospital trusts have been above that level since December 1 to January 22.

Chief operating officer for ULHT Mark Brassington said: “There isn’t a national target for bed occupancy. Eighty-five per cent would be the ideal with 92 per cent being an expected figure and this will often be higher during winter when demand for services increases.

“Over the last few months, we’ve seen a significant rise in demand on all of our hospitals and a delay in discharging patients at a time where we have a shortage of staff. The quality and safety of patient care is the Trust’s number one priority, and during busy times we always prioritise the sickest patients to ensure appropriate care is given.”

The 85 per cent mark is a baseline for safety, and health professionals have said that the more occupied a hospital is the higher the risk of infections and the less they are able to deal with major on-the-day emergencies.