Suffolk Bed Blocking Crisis: Ruffley Calls High Level Meeting with Central Suffolk Primary Care Trust

Tuesday, 13 January, 2004

David Ruffley has called a meeting with Harper Brown, Chief Executive of Central Suffolk Primary Care Trust, on Friday, 16th January.

Top of the agenda will be the continuing bed blocking crisis in Suffolk.

David extracted figures from the Department of Health just before Christmas setting out the number of care home places transferred from the public sector to the voluntary and independent sectors in each county in the East of England. These showed that whereas Essex transferred a total of 680 care home places into the voluntary and independent sectors in 2000/1 and 2001/2 and Cambridgeshire managed 440 over the same period, Suffolk transferred none at all! The following year Suffolk managed to transfer 280 places but that still leaves Suffolk way behind other counties in the region.

David said: 'I raised this matter with Anthony Douglas, Director of Social Care Services at Suffolk County Council, just before Christmas. I am now meeting Harper Brown at Central Suffolk Primary Care Trust to find out what action he is taking to provide a better service to my elderly and infirm constituents.

Care homes run by Suffolk County Council cost more per place than similar homes in the independent and voluntary sectors and this means in Suffolk we have fewer care places than we should have for the money we are spending. The free care that taxpayers' money pays for is delivered better in the voluntary and independent sector.

We cannot continue to have a situation whereby patients cannot be transferred to a residential care home when they are ready to leave hospital just because the authorities cannot get their act together. I shall continue to press for more high quality care home places to be made available at least cost to my taxpaying constituents.'