MPs' summit meeting over bed-blocking

Norfolk MPs are set to meet health chiefs to tackle a bed-blocking crisis that is choking the county's hospitals.North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, Dr Ian Gibson (Norwich North) and Richard Bacon (South Norfolk) will quiz hospital and primary care trust chief executives in a select committee-style hearing in public in Norwich on March 28.

Norfolk MPs are set to meet health chiefs to tackle a bed-blocking crisis that is choking the county's hospitals.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, Dr Ian Gibson (Norwich North) and Richard Bacon (South Norfolk) will quiz hospital and primary care trust chief executives in a select committee-style hearing in public in Norwich on March 28.

The bed-blocking crisis at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is showing no signs of going away, with the equivalent of two wards choked by patients who are ready to go on to the

next stage of their care but have no


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spaces in community hospitals or specialist units to move into.

At the N&N in recent months, there have been 70-80 beds blocked at any one time. Yesterday, the figure stood at 72 out of the N&N's 987 beds.

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Beds at community hospitals are also being blocked by patients waiting to go into ongoing social services care.

While the N&N, Norfolk Primary Care Trust and Norfolk County Council Social Services have been working to ease the problem, there has been little improvement.

And now the MPs are set to step in to try to get to the bottom of the issue, which is draining millions of pounds a year from the county's health budget.

A time and venue for the meeting still has to be announced but the MPs are hoping that health professionals, GPs the public, patient groups and other interested parties will attend.

The main participants will be senior bosses from the N&N, Norfolk PCT, adult social services and Age Concern.

Mr Lamb, who is the Liberal Democrat shadow health secretary, said: “Something has got to change to make the system work better and what we are trying to do is identify where changes can take place that will make the system operate more effectively.”

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