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14.03.16

Delayed care transfers rise by 6%

Delayed care transfers, where medically fit patients have to remain in a hospital bed, have increased by 6% in the past year.

New figures show that there were 159,100 total delayed days, in January 2016, of which 103,500 were in acute care. This is a 6% increase from January 2015, where there were 150,400 total delayed days, of which 103,200 were in acute care. It is also the second highest number of total delayed days reported in a month since monthly data was first collected in August 2010.

The majority (61%) were attributable to the NHS, with the main reason (in 30.8% of cases) being a wait for further non-acute NHS care. Social care were responsible for 32.3% of delays, with the main reason (32.7%) being a wait for a care package in the patient’s home. The proportion attributable to social care problems has increased, from 25.9% in January 2015.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “It’s important patients who are well enough to leave hospital can do so at the earliest opportunity and are treated with dignity and compassion. These figures underline both the importance of joined-up care within the NHS, and the dependence of hospitals on well-functioning social care services – particularly for older people living at home.”

Ray James, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “Unless the government addresses the chronic underfunding of adult social care – and quickly – many services will be at significant risk over the next couple of years, with worrying consequences not only for the NHS, but most of all for older and disabled people, their families and carers.”

He called on the government to bring forward the £700m promised funding for adult social care in Wednesday’s Budget.

Recent Royal College of Emergency Medicine research found that delayed transfer of care instances at a sample 40 NHS trusts rose from 2,175 to 2,390 over winter.

The NHS’s latest performance figures also show that NHS trusts’ success rates on seeing A&E patients within four hours are at their lowest since the target was set in 2004.

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