St Albans disabled man “enraged” to still be bed-blocking after three weeks

PUBLISHED: 09:37 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:48 20 September 2018

Richard Cubis has been waiting for a knee operation for three and a half years and has had it cancelled four times. Picture: DANNY LOO

Richard Cubis has been waiting for a knee operation for three and a half years and has had it cancelled four times. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

A disabled man has been stuck blocking vital hospital beds for weeks because social services cannot care for him at home.

Richard Cubis was in chronic pain for three and a half years while he waited for a kneecap replacement surgery appointment which kept on being cancelled last minute.

The operation finally went ahead after the Herts Ad ran his story in August and it was picked up by national news.

However, since having the operation the 69-year-old has not been allowed to return to his Marshalswick home because Herts county council (HCC) social services are concerned they can no longer fulfil his needs.

He felt well enough to come home within a week of his operation, about three weeks ago.

Richard said: “Within five or six days of having the operation, it felt good, only a bit painful.

“But I think the Government should damn well put some more money in social services.

I feel very bitter about it because I am paying rent on my flat but not living there because social services say I can’t use it without it getting adequate fittings to make my life easier.

“I feel very bitter, almost enraged.”

Before the operation, carers came to look after Richard four times a day.

He added: “I would be over the moon if I could go home. Don’t get me wrong, the staff here are lovely - I couldn’t wish for better people and everyone is marvellous. But there is this black hole which is social services.”

Bed-blocking, or a delayed transfer of care (DTOC), is defined by the NHS when a patient is ready to leave hospital but is still occupying a bed which could be put to better use.

According to independent healthcare improvement charity The King’s Fund, the proportion of DTOCs due to social care has risen steeply since 2014. However, 58 per cent of delays in 2016/17 are still attributed to the NHS.

A spokesperson for HCC, who administer adult social services around the county, said: “There have been concerns about whether the staff at the flexi care sheltered housing scheme where Mr Cubis lives can manage the level of care which he requires.

“We are therefore working closely with all concerned not only to get him home as soon as possible but also to ensure that he gets the right support for his needs.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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