NHS Digital has published the delayed transfers of care figures for January 2018.
There were 152,300 total delayed days in January 2018, of which 99,800 were in acute care. This is a decrease from January 2017, where there were 197,500 total delayed days, of which 130,500 were in acute care.
The total delayed days is equivalent to 4,913 daily delayed transfer of care beds. This compares to 4,688 in December 2017 and 6,371 in January 2017.
59.9% of all delays in January 2018 were attributable to the NHS, 32.5% were attributable to social care and the remaining 7.6% were attributable to both NHS and social care.
The proportion of delays attributable to social care has decreased over the last year, from 35.2% in January 2017.
The main reason for social care delays in January 2018 was ‘Patients Awaiting Care Package in their Own Home’. This accounted for 16,800 delayed days (34% of all social care delays), compared to 24,600 in January 2017. The number of delays attributable to this reason had been increasing steadily since February 2015 and reached a peak in December 2016. However, delays attributable to this reason have been gradually decreasing since March 2017, although January 2018 is an increase on the previous month.
Responding to the latest delayed transfers of care figures for January 2018, Councillor Linda Thomas, Vice Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said, 'These figures show that, despite an overall increase in the total number of delayed days, councils have kept a lid on this rise, battling against the odds during a challenging winter period when demand pressures – which have included a flu outbreak – typically rise due to worsening health conditions.
'The number of delayed days due to social care has only risen marginally, by 1%. Since July 2017, delays due to social care have fallen by 27%.
'This reflects the continuous hard work by councils to get people out of hospital in a timely and safe manner so they can return to live in the comfort of their own homes and communities close to their loved ones and families.
'Despite significant funding and resource pressures, councils are fulfilling their commitments while also delivering effective budget management.
'To help reduce delayed transfers of care and pressures on the NHS, social care needs to be given parity with the health service. A sustainable NHS cannot be achieved without a sustainable social care system so investment in social care is a sound economic choice for the NHS, society and the country.
'Councils will continue to work closely with their NHS partners locally but government needs to fully fund our social care system.
'The extra £2 billion last year, and a further £150 million for adult social care announced in the final Local Government Finance Settlement, while helpful, is not enough to address immediate pressures as part of the £2.3 billion funding gap facing social care by 2020.'