Once the health and social services are combined throughout the UK, there will be no excuse for this situation remaining the same – which it will. Plus ca change.. Hard nosed discharges are all very well, but facing down hard nosed families who are aggressive is another matter..
The number of healthy patients stranded in hospital because of a lack of social care is at a record high, NHS figures show.
Some 37 per cent of patients who are taking up a bed are there because the care they need at home is not in place.
NHS bosses say that many delays for which they are officially blamed should also be laid at the door of social services. If a community health service is full because it is unable to pass patients to social care, it cannot take new patients. A delay in this case is recorded as an NHS delay.
A snapshot in February showed that 6,797 patients were ready for discharge but still in hospital, down from 7,106 the month before. Delays due to social care were about the same, 2,504 compared with 2,498.
Compared with February last year, the number of delayed days attributable to social care rose by 32.8 per cent.
NHS England said the increase in delays to patients leaving hospital was equal to more than 1,150 beds being taken out of normal usage, compared with February last year.
Saffron Cordery, head of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, said: “This is not only a poor use of resources at a time of severe financial pressures, the delays often cause uncertainty, distress and worse outcomes for patients.”
Margaret Willcox, president-elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “While it is concerning that the number of delayed discharges attributable to social care has risen over the last year, it is encouraging to see there were 500 fewer delays in February because people were waiting for care packages in their own home than the previous month.”
The figures also showed the worst winter for emergency patients being admitted to NHS hospitals in England, with nearly 200,000 waiting at least four hours. From last December to February, 195,764 patients waited at least four hours — the NHS standard — to be admitted to hospital from A&E. The figure is the highest on record and marks a sharp rise on winter last year, when 134,576 patients missed the four-hour target.