Bed-blocking and staffing issues cost the hospital £3m in lost private patient income last year.
One of the revenue streams used to support the cost of public patient services is private surgical income.
After the refurbishment of the hospital's main theatre, it was expected that this income would go up – but it's now emerged that the Treasury Minister had to give the hospital £2.8m from the island's General Reserve due to a deficit at the end of the year.
A report outlining the funding decision – signed off on 29 December – explained that the main theatres had "not been able to be fully staffed to allow for the volume of treatment to be undertaken as planned."
Ongoing sickness from covid affecting both staff and patients also "resulted in cancellations for services that are expensive and cannot be moved to others in a quick enough timeframe."
The report also pinned part of the blame on the "higher than anticipated level of hospital beds still holding treated patients that are unable to be released back into the community".
The scale of the bed-blocking challenge was laid bare in June last year, when Express revealed how Health had been forced to move its Medical Day Care Unit, previously based on Corbière Ward, to accommodate emergency admissions while operations had been cancelled.
In an email seen by Express at the time, a surgeon described the hospital as being "in crisis with the bed situation", with patients fit enough for discharge but unable to go back to their own homes left with "nowhere to go" due to a lack of beds available in care homes.
The challenges continued into the autumn and winter, and it was reported in November that 35 patients were awaiting discharge after being assessed as fit enough to leave – 22 in the hospital and 13 in mental health facilities.
Clinical Services Director Claire Thompson said at the time that Health was piloting a new scheme with Family and Nursing Home Care, which provides a package of home care for up to six weeks.
Pictured: Health was described as being "in crisis with the bed situation" by a surgeon last year.
To counter the "knock-on effect" on operations, she said the hospital had ring-fenced a ward for operations.
Development of a 'Discharge to Assess Scheme' to "ensure clinically fit patients are discharged into an environment that meets their holistic needs, whilst allowing their long-term care requirements to be accurately assessed and reducing readmission" – was one of several elements of the Jersey Care Model put on pause as the Health Minister carried out a review last year. The Home Care pilot scheme continued during the pause, however.
While the review led to the discontinuation of some projects, Deputy Karen Wilson confirmed in her final report published in November that she was supportive of continuing with a redesign of the Discharge Service.
The report said that £388,000 would be spent on the project in 2023, and £146,000 the following year.
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Most out patients have their appointment cancelled / moved to a different time or hospital transport is cancelled so they cannot attend. Every change / lost appointment is expensive.
Direction is desperately needed ~ this of course starts from the Very Top down the masses of management grades.
Like the NHS jersey hospital needs a clean sheet of paper by independent inspector who will decide what services the state is going to support, and how it is to be run.
Everyone hopes they will never have to use these services, but when it is necessary one hopes for a well run, professional service ~ something that seems out of reach in Jersey.
The staff that they have managed to retain do a wonderful job, there is too few of them, and Management must bear the blame for this.
This whole department needs a complete rethink. Someone needs to carry out a proper appraisal of the staff and the services because things can always be done in a better way in my experience.
A panel made up of experts and members of the public could do it. We don't need more imported consultants, just use local resources for very local problem. We do not want any more imported ideas and suggestions. We have survived without this in the past so why not now.
As Nike says in their logo 'Just Do It'.