Search

Council paid ‘golden hellos’ to free up beds amid warning NHS crisis will continue

PUBLISHED: 11:16 15 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:23 15 January 2018

Ambulances queuing at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital A&E department.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Ambulances queuing at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital A&E department. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

The pressure on the NHS over Christmas meant Norfolk County Council bosses had to pay “golden hellos” to care providers to take in patients to free up beds.

And the director of adult social care at County Hall said high levels of illness are likely to mean demand on health services remains high for the next three weeks.

All three of Norfolk’s hospitals were completely full at points over the Christmas and New Year period.

Between December 24 and January 7, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) hit 100pc bed occupancy twice, with all other days being in the 80pc and 90pc range.

At the James Paget Univeristy Hospital (JPUH) in Gorleston, bed occupancy reached 100pc 11 times - including being completely full between December 31 and January 7.

Executive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council James Bullion. Picture Norfolk County CouncilExecutive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council James Bullion. Picture Norfolk County Council

At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn capacity was reached four times in the same period.

And, at a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s Adult Social Care Committee today, the service’s director James Bullion revealed the knock-on effect the NHS pressures had on the council.

He said: “Despite extensive planning to reduce the level of inpatients before Christmas, we have seen excessive pressures and lack of capacity and staffing in some places, that’s led to a significant increase in the number of referrals to the local authority from the NHS.”

He said some social workers had been taken out of their community settings to help in hospitals.

And he said the council had paid “golden hellos” to care providers for them to take in patients from hospitals.

Mr Bullion said: “We have had to increase the financial incentives for care providers so they will take people with a ‘golden hello’ payment for those coming in at weekends or overnight.

“We have worked with care providers so they understand the gravity of the situation for hospitals and patients’ families.”

Mr Bullion said the number of delays to transfer of care was likely to have increased by about 200 days over the Christmas period.

And he said the council’s emergency duty teams, which responds to social care referrals outside of normal office hours, had more than 350 calls - up by 250 on the same period last year.

Mr Bullion said it was too early to say what the added pressure and spending would have cost.

He said: “We don’t yet have the impact on the service’s budget, but it will have an impact in due course.”

Mr Bullion added that he wanted to thank the council’s staff and care providers for going “above and beyond” over the festive period.

He said: “Our response was to increase overtime and weekend working.

“I know that disrupted family life for lots of our staff and I would like to thank them.”

But he warned there is likely to still be further pressures.

He said: “The situation is not over. There are likely to be very high levels of illness and the pressures will continue for the next three weeks.”

Other news

Yesterday, 18:06

A mother has described the terrifying moment a brick was thrown at her windscreen while she was in a car with her five-month-old baby.

Yesterday, 17:26

One person had to be treated by emergency services after a gas leak incident in north Norfolk.

Council bosses looking to plug a £78.5m funding gap in the coming years are hoping the taxpayer can shoulder some of the burden - and are looking for your views.

Yesterday, 14:25

Serious safety incidents led to 35 deaths at the region’s mental health trust over a six month period, figures have revealed.

Most Read

Yesterday, 17:26

One person had to be treated by emergency services after a gas leak incident in north Norfolk.

Read more
Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thousands of people across Norfolk and Waveney are paying their respects to those who fought for peace - as the region falls silent to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.

Read more
Remembrance Day 2018
Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Dereham bus company is extending its most popular route around the town – but admitted some marginal services will be cut back due to reduced transport subsidies.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:06

A mother has described the terrifying moment a brick was thrown at her windscreen while she was in a car with her five-month-old baby.

Read more
Norfolk Police
Yesterday, 13:59

Five suspects aged as young as 10 have been arrested following criminal damage to a property’s windows, a garden fence and cars in Swaffham on Sunday November 11.

Read more
Norfolk Police

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 7°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Fakenham and Wells Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Fakenham and Wells Times weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy