Delayed transfers of care fall year on year

NHS England statistics show while monthly DTOC figures have risen, they have fallen year on year

Published on 8th March 2018

The number of delayed transfers of care have increased between December 2017 and January 2018, but fallen year on year, the latest official statistics show.

There were 152,300 total delayed days in January 2018, of which 99,800 were in acute care, the NHS England figures show. This is a decrease from January 2017, where there were 197,500 total delayed days, of which 130,500 were in acute care.

The 152,300 total delayed days equates to 4,913 daily DTOC beds in January and this compares to 4,688 in December 2017 and 6,371 in January 2017.

In January 2018, 59.9% of all delays were attributable to the NHS while 32.5% were down to reasons related to social care. The remaining 7.6% were attributable to both NHS and social care.

The figures reveal that the proportion of delays attributable to social care has decreased over the last year to 32.5% in January 2018, compared to 35.2% in January 2017.

The main reason for social care delays in January 2018 was “Patients Awaiting Care Package in their Own Home” which accounted for 16,800 delayed days or 34.0% of all social care delays.

The main reason for NHS delays in January 2018 was “Patients Awaiting further Non Acute NHS Care” which accounted for 28,000 delayed days and 30.6% of all NHS delays.

Cllr Linda Thomas, Vice Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “These figures show that, despite an overall increase in the total number of delayed days, councils have kept a lid on this rise, battling against the odds during a challenging winter period when demand pressures – which have included a flu outbreak - typically rise due to worsening health conditions.

“The number of delayed days due to social care has only risen marginally, by 1 per cent. Since July 2017, delays due to social care have fallen by 27 per cent.

“This reflects the continuous hard work by councils to get people out of hospital in a timely and safe manner so they can return to live in the comfort of their own homes and communities close to their loved ones and families.

“Despite significant funding and resource pressures, councils are fulfilling their commitments while also delivering effective budget management.

“To help reduce delayed transfers of care and pressures on the NHS, social care needs to be given parity with the health service. A sustainable NHS cannot be achieved without a sustainable social care system so investment in social care is a sound economic choice for the NHS, society and the country.

“Councils will continue to work closely with their NHS partners locally but government needs to fully fund our social care system.

“The extra £2 billion last year, and a further £150 million for adult social care announced in the final Local Government Finance Settlement, while helpful, is not enough to address immediate pressures as part of the £2.3 billion funding gap facing social care by 2020,” she added.

Margaret Willcox, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, (ADASS), said: “Councils are doing all they can to reduce the number of delayed transfers of care due to social care. If we are to ease the winter pressures on the health service, it’s essential we get people out of hospital and make sure they get the appropriate social care they need.

“Social care staff have put in their very best efforts in recent months, and January in particular was a very difficult month where hospitals came under significant strain as a result of the winter pressures. Our staff are on the frontline of the funding crisis affecting adult social care, yet day in, day out, they do the very best they can in challenging circumstances, working to improve lives.

“Social care is about helping people live well and independently in their homes, and to keep them out of hospital in the first place. Sadly the funding pressures facing services means this is under real threat.

“We would urge the government to make sure their hard work and determination is met with the funding and resources that social care teams across the country desperately need. The forthcoming green paper is an essential opportunity to put social care on a long-term, sustainable financial footing. However, social care faces short-term pressures and needs an immediate injection of funding right now if services are able to deliver,” she concluded.


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