Patients stuck in hospitals while waiting for NDIS support or a place in an aged care facility will be among the challenges tackled at a meeting of federal, state and territory health ministers, South Australian MP Chris Picton says.
Mr Picton, the SA health minister, will travel to Canberra on Friday to discuss the issue and help find solutions to discharge patients who no longer need hospital care, to free up beds and reduce pressure on the system.
He says bed block — when patients admitted from emergency departments cannot be moved to hospital beds because they are occupied – is a major factor in EDs becoming clogged, which ultimately leads to ambulance ramping.
“Every day our public hospitals are caring for patients who should not be in hospital,” the minister said.
“These patients no longer require hospital care and are ready to be discharged, but they are stuck in hospitals waiting on NDIS support or a place in a residential aged care facility.
“These poor patients are literally stranded.”
Latest SA Health data showed hundreds of patients were being treated in metropolitan hospitals instead of receiving federally funded care in the community.
On June 10, there were 282 NDIS patients in hospitals, with 129 ready to be discharged.
Of those, 66 had been stuck in hospital for more than 100 days.
In February there were 53 patients ready for discharge who were waiting for a place in a residential aged care facility.
Mr Picton said health ministers would also focus on national funding of public hospitals, workforce shortages, and how primary care could relieve pressure on hospitals.
“We want to work closely with the new federal government and with other states and territories to get our stranded patients the care and support they need,” he said.
“This meeting presents a huge opportunity to try and resolve some of those issues.”