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Delayed transfer of care beds up slightly

LGA says councils have done well to minimise this rise during a particularly challenging winter period

Published on 12th April 2018

The number of delayed transfers of care beds has increased slightly in February, according to the latest statistics available from NHS England.

There were 4,996 delayed transfer of care beds in February 2018, in comparison to 4,913 the previous month in January.

The 4,996 daily DTOC beds compares to 6,660 in February 2017, showing a massive reduction year on year.

The total days of delayed transfers of care reduced from 152,300 in January 2018 to 139,900 in February.

Of the 139,900 total delayed days in February, 92,100 were in acute care which is a decrease from February 2017, where there were 186,500 total delayed days, of which 124,600 were in acute care.

According to the statistics, 60.1% of all delays in February 2018 were attributable to the NHS, 32.0% were attributable to Social Care and the remaining 7.9% were attributable to both NHS and Social Care.

The proportion of delays attributable to Social Care has decreased over the last year to 32.0% in February 2018, compared to 36.4% in February 2017.

The main reason for Social Care delays in February 2018 was “Patients Awaiting Care Package in their Own Home”. This accounted for 16,200 delayed days (36.1% of all Social Care delays), compared to 24,200 in February 2017.

The number of delays attributable to this reason had been increasing steadily since April 2014 and reached a peak in December 2016. Delays attributable to this reason have been gradually decreasing since March 2017.

The main reason for NHS delays in February 2018 was “Patients Awaiting further Non Acute NHS Care”. This accounted for 24,500 delayed days (29.2% of all NHS delays). The number of delays attributable to this reason showed a general increase between August 2015 and September 2016, peaking in January 2017. Since then, the number has been generally decreasing.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “These figures are not unexpected and show that, despite an overall increase in the total number of delayed days, councils have done well to minimise this rise during a particularly challenging winter period when demand pressures increased due to worsening health conditions.

“The number of delayed days due to social care has only risen marginally, by 0.3 per cent. Since July 2017 delays due to social care have fallen by about 27 per cent. This is testament to ongoing efforts by councils to get people out of hospital promptly and safely so they can return to live in their own homes and communities close to their loved ones and families.

“Despite significant funding and resource pressures and increased demand, councils are fulfilling their commitments and managing their budgets to address escalating challenges in adult social care.

“However, if delayed transfers of care and pressures on the NHS are to be reduced, it’s imperative that adult social care is seen as an essential service in its own right, given parity with the health service and fully funded to future-proof it for the rising numbers of people who need care.

“Government needs to give urgent funding to councils to invest in effective prevention work to reduce the need for people to be admitted to hospital in the first place, which will help to reduce costs to the public purse.

“Councils will continue to work closely with their NHS partners locally but government needs to address immediate pressures as part of the funding gap in adult social care which is set to exceed £2 billion by 2020,” she concluded.

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