Age UK’s analysis of NHS England data from the past 5 years has identified 2.5 million days spent by patients delayed unnecessarily in hospitals over the five-year period. The reasons for, and the scale of, delay gleaned NHS England data for the last financial year include:
- 174,000 days spent in hospital waiting for a residential home place.
- 216,000 days spent in hospital waiting for a nursing home place.
- 206,000 days spent in hospital waiting for help from social care workers or district nurses to be able to return home.
- 41,400 days spent in hospital waiting for equipment or home modifications (such as ramps or stairlifts) to be installed in patients’ homes.
Age UK points out that this situation has been generally harmful for patients’ health, a waste of NHS resources and an otherwise avoidable cost to taxpayers.
There appears to be a rising crisis in social care, involving (among other factors) shortages of care home places and insufficient district nurses to assist people upon returning home. The number of people kept in hospitals during 2014-15 had increased by 19% compared to the previous year.
Elderly ‘being trapped’ in hospital, says Age UK. London: BBC Health News, June 17th 2015.
“An NHS bed costs on average £1925 a week compared to about £558 for a week in residential care or £356.58 for home care based on three hours of care per day over the course of one week”. (Age UK)
This relates to:
2.4m bed days lost in 5 years from social care delays. London: Age UK, June 17th 2015.
August 2016 Update on Worsening Crisis
NHS England has revealed that delayed discharges from hospital have risen 23% since June 2015.
Delays in discharging patients 23% rise. London: BBC Health News, August 11th 2016.
May 2017 Update
Long-waiters are on the increase:
Triggle, N. (2017). Hospital ‘long-waiters’ show sharp rise. London: BBC Health News, May 11th 2017.