Delayed Discharge On The Rise Amid Social Care Crisis

The number of people being left stuck in hospital despite being medically fit to leave has increased year-on-year.

The practice, known as delayed discharge, often arises because a social care package – that would allow someone to safely return home or to a community setting – is not in place.

At the May 2019 census point there were 1,451 people stuck in hospital due to their discharge being delayed, an increase of 4 per cent compared to May 2018. Over the course of the month, a total of 45,061 bed days were lost due to delayed discharges across the health service.

The most up to date estimate calculates the average cost of each delay is £234 per day, working out to a total of £10.54million in May alone.

Of those delayed at the census point in May, 1,181 people were delayed by more than three days. Three-quarters of these delays were caused by health and social care reasons.

Monica said: “Despite promising to end delayed discharge, people are waiting too long to access social care.

“Each delayed discharge is a drain on NHS resources and is needlessly putting people at risk of hospital-acquired infections.

“In the month of May alone this cost our NHS more than £10million – that’s money that could be spent on medicines, more staff and new equipment.

“This is no reflection on the hardworking staff but the performance of our NHS is worsening. The integration of health and social care services will not succeed unless Government Ministers make the right resources available.”