The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee’s latest report challenges the government, NHS Improvement and NHS England to tackle the extent of (i) the harm to patients and (ii) the financial costs, arising from delays in discharging older patients from hospital. Discharge delays are bad for patients and the costs impair financial sustainability of the NHS.
The committee alleges there to be a poor understanding of the scale of the problem. Official data substantially under-estimates the range of local variations in such delays and the number of older patients affected.
“Blaming local circumstances for poor performance short-changes patients and is an unacceptable cop-out”. Meg Hillier.
The National Audit Office (NAO) estimated recently that delayed care transfers cost £820 million a year, with the number of delays having risen by a third over the past two years to more than 1.1 million (possibly 2.7 million) days of delay. Care in the community for these patients, by contrast – were it readily available – might cost an estimated £180 million per year.
Government shows ‘striking poverty of ambition’ on discharge delays. London [Online]: House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, July 22nd 2016.
Triggle, N. (2016). Stop making excuses on delays, NHS bosses told. London: BBC Health News, July 22nd 2016.
This relates to:
House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts (2016). London [Online]: House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, July 2016.
Statistics on those areas with the most delayed transfers of care:
Wainwright, D. (2017). Bed delay transfer figures reveal areas worst affected. London: BBC Health News, March 23rd 2017.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has pointed-out that the national social care guideline titled “Transition between inpatient hospital settings and community or care home settings for adults with social care needs (NG27)” provides helpful recommendations.
NICE guidance can reduce delays in hospital discharge raised by critical report. London [Online]: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), July 22nd 2016.
Long-waiters are on the increase: the trend continues.
Triggle, N. (2017). Hospital ‘long-waiters’ show sharp rise. London: BBC Health News, May 11th 2017.
Man evicted from hospital for blocking bed for two years. London: BBC Health News, January 20th 2017.
Possibly of passing interest, a suggestion, from Dr. Dan Poulter MP (ex-Conservative Health Minister):
New tax needed to fund NHS and care, says ex-minister London: BBC Health News, August 28th 2016.
Hospital Discharge Delays Worse in Mental Health Trusts
Delays in discharging patients from hospital are increasing more rapidly in mental health trusts. NHS England data indicates a 56% rise in the number of bed days lost to delayed discharges from psychiatric trusts in October 2016, compared to November 2015. There was a 30% rise of bed days lost as a result of delayed discharges in acute trusts for the same period.
Buchanan, M. (2017). Blocked beds blight mental health care. London: BBC Health News, January 6th 2017.
Two Sides of the Same Wasteful NHS Coin?
Mental health patients in the UK may occasionally spend years stranded in acute units waiting for discharge, at an estimated cost of £350 per day per person.
Greenwood, G. [and] Buchanan, M. (2017). Mental health patients stranded in units for years. London: BBC Health News, August 3rd 2017.
Patients become unnecessarily dependent during prolonged stays in hospital, while others in more urgent need cannot be admitted.
Bed found for suicidal girl after judge’s criticism. London: BBC Health News, August 4th 2017.
Family judge ‘ashamed’ by support for suicidal girl. London: BBC Health News, August 3rd 2017.