Hereford County Hospital is to have a “departure lounge” to beat bed blocking.

The lounge, created close to the hospital’s main entrance for patients ready to go home, opens next Tuesday (April 22).

“Patients can end up waiting to go home in beds or chairs on wards for a variety of reasons,” said Neil Doverty, chief operating officer with Wye Valley NHS Trust.

“Sometimes they’ve got to wait while our pharmacy gets hold of the medication they need, other times it can be because they’re got to wait on a relative to collect them.

“But whatever the reason, the new discharge lounge will mean patients who are ready to go home will be able to wait in fit for purpose area which more suits their needs, and it also frees up beds on our wards which means other sick patients who need to be treated can get onto a ward more quickly,” he said.

Open from Monday to Friday between 9am-8pm, the lounge can take 12 patients at a time and will be staffed to cope with a wide variety of medical and clinical needs.

It will stay open in the evening to cater for patients who are being collected by relatives who may be at work during the day.