Care home’s closure sparks fears of bed blocking crisis

THERE are fears the closure of the Elsie Inglis care home could plunge Edinburgh into a new bed blocking crisis. Since the removal of residents from the Abbeyhill home last month there are around 70 extra people who need to be looked after in a system which is already struggling for space.

NHS Lothian and the city council have been forced to secure extra care home places in the city and even open up an extra ward at the Astley Ainslie Hospital but said they were confident they could manage the situation.

Labour’s health and social care spokeswoman, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said she was worried about the knock-on impact for bed blocking.

“There is no question this is being felt, because care homes and hospital wards are full as it is,” she said.

Police are investigating the deaths of two people from the care home, 59-year-old Lynn Beveridge, who had Down’s Syndrome, and an 87-year-old man.

Ms Beveridge’s death certificate revealed that she died in the early hours of May 18 from pneumonia, with further laboratory studies set to take place into the cause.

The council was already looking into the care home after a damning report in April, which gave it one of the worst scores ever recorded in Scotland.

Peter Gabbitas, joint director of health and social care in Edinburgh, said: “Mindful of the need for appropriate and timely discharge for all patients, NHS Lothian and Edinburgh City Council are continuing to work closely together to minimise the impact of the closure of Elsie Inglis.

“In response to the situation at Elsie Inglis care home, additional capacity was secured by Edinburgh City Council in their own care homes and in private sector care homes.

“In addition, Edinburgh Community Health Partnership has opened up an additional temporary ward funded by resources from the city council.”

He added that the Lothians’ improving record on delayed discharge – when a patient is fit to leave hospital but has nowhere to go – would not be badly hit by the situation.

“Improvements to delayed discharge numbers continue to be made and are the result of concerted efforts to move patients on from hospital into more appropriate care settings,” he said.

“The record on delayed discharges is one of real success which has been sustained over a long period of time.”

The Evening News revealed last week that the council had been warned about the Abbeyhill care home in January.

The Learning Disability Alliance told officials it was not appropriate for people like Ms Beveridge to be cared for in a unit designed for elderly residents.