• October 8, 2015


DHSC CEO Malcolm Couch has set out a detailed response to the query we raised about the recent Ministerial statement concerning ‘so called’ bed blocking at Nobles Hospital.

A link to our query is here:


The reply from Mr Couch is set out in full below:

“Dear Mr Moffatt

Thank you for your letter of 27 September 2015 to which I am replying on behalf of the Minister.

We are in agreement that what is often called ‘bed blocking’ has been a feature of hospital healthcare services for many years. We do all that we can to manage the use of beds at Noble’s Hospital so that people who do not need the level of care provided by a hospital are discharged (to their homes or another care facility, as appropriate) and that people who do need hospital-level care can have access to it. More than one manager is involved in that process these days: but the principle probably hasn’t changed all that much since the bed manager position which you refer to was created.

We are also in agreement that whether or not a person can be discharged may involve the consideration of a range of issues (social etc.) beyond their immediate health condition, and my colleagues in our various service lines are skilled in assessing and putting in place care plans to address the issues. However, there are cases where, for a number of reasons, people remain in hospital care despite the department’s best efforts to arrange suitable plans which would allow them to be discharged. It is a real issue, and deciding whether or not it is also a serious issue depends on the overall occupancy of the hospital at any particular time.

Clause 13 of the draft bill is referred to as follows in the consultation document.

This clause establishes the concept that the use of any of the Department’s facilities by any individual constitutes a contract between the Department and that individual.
The clause goes on to state that the terms of that contract will be that the individual will vacate the facility when the Department informs them that their care is completed or that they no longer need to use the facility.
The clause then states that if the contract is breached (for example by a patient refusing to vacate a hospital bed) the Department may seek compliance through the courts.

We feel that this is an appropriate power to have; although we await the results of the consultation and, later, the views of the legislative branches of Tynwald when the bill is presented for consideration. It is to be expected that there will be differing views about the proposed power.

I can assure you that I am looking at any number of factors which may affect the good running of Noble’s Hospital. Where I and my colleagues find verifiable evidence that something causes us operational difficulties, we will put in place plans to reduce or cancel those difficulties.

I hope that my email goes some way to answering your concerns, and trust that you will add your views to the consultation process.

Yours sincerely

Malcolm Couch
Chief Executive”

The Celtic League is grateful to Mr Couch for the very prompt and detailed nature of his response.


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues



About Author


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Celtic League
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x