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Monday, 06 February 2017

NHS boss apologises after woman, 89, remains on hospital ward for six months

Written by The Press Association

An NHS Trust has apologised after an elderly woman remained on a ward for six months at a cost of more than £80,000 despite being fit for discharge.

Iris Sibley, 89, and her family were left "distressed and let down" after multiple attempts to move her into a nursing home failed, leaving her in isolation at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Her son, John Sibley, told the Guardian her ordeal was "pretty scandalous" and had put a "huge strain" on their family.

"It's not until you get caught up in it that you realise how serious the situation is," he told the newspaper.

Mrs Sibley was taken to hospital in June after a fall at a care home.

When she was deemed well enough to be leave she was assessed by Bristol Community Health on behalf of the South Gloucestershire Care Commissioning Group, an NHS body that is responsible for local health care services.

They advised Mrs Sibley needed round-the-clock nursing care, and it took until January 4 to find a place in a home suitable for her medical and personal needs.

Robert Woolley, chief executive of University Hospitals Bristol NHS foundation trust, said a formal investigation was under way.

"I'm very sorry for what happened to Mrs Sibley and apologise to her family for the massive frustration that all of us have caused," he told The Guardian.

Mr Woolley said there is a "critical interdependency" between social care and the NHS.

"If we get the capacity wrong in social care, it's the NHS that bears the consequences. That is plain for all to see," he said.

The Department of Health said it had increased funding and published guidelines designed to improve co-ordination between the NHS and relevant bodies.

Mrs Sibley's case follows revelations that patients have faced discharge delays of more than year in Scotland.

One patient in Dumfries and Galloway was kept in hospital for 508 days despite being well enough to be discharged, figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats showed.

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