Less ‘boarding’ what doctor ordered as hospital aims to halt needless bed moves

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A PROGRAMME has been set up to address the unnecessary moving of patients in hospitals.

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) and NHS Scotland will work together to address the practice known as boarding which can have a negative impact on patients.

The programme will review the number and speciality type of beds for acute care, ensuring an adequate number of appropriate beds are available. It will also ensure there are enough medical consultants and nurses to provide safe acute medical care.

Boarding has caused problems such as increasing the length of patient stays, re-admissions and the development of medical complications including healthcare-acquired infections and blood clots.

Health secretary Alex Neil said: “Moving patients from one ward to another when they don’t need to be moved can delay their treatment and even cause medical problems. That’s not good for patients and it puts a greater burden on our NHS.

“We need to ensure that NHS boards have world-class planning for the number and type of beds, nurses and consultants that are needed, so that the need to move patients unnecessarily is reduced.

“Scotland is the first country in the UK to deal with the issue of boarding and I am sure that it will further improve the quality of care in our hospitals.”

The need to reduce levels of boarding in Scottish hospitals is particularly pressing given the ageing population, as higher admissions rates are linked to age.