The latest delayed transfer of care (DToC) figures have been released for October 2017. They show a decrease in total delayed days however, the proportion of delays attributable to social care has increased slightly.
The figures show that there were 170,100 total delayed days in October 2017, of which 110,100 were in acute care. This is a decrease from October 2016, where there were 200,100 total delayed days, of which 134,200 were in acute care.
The 170,100 total delayed days in October 2017 is equivalent to 5,487 daily DToC beds. This compares to 5,609 in September 2017 and 6,455 in October 2016. This is the lowest number of DToC beds since March 2016, when the number was 5,480.
57.1% of all delays in October 2017 were attributable to the NHS, 35.3% 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 increased over the last year to 35.3% in October 2017, compared to 34.9% in October 2016.
The main reason for NHS delays in October 2017 was 'Patients Awaiting further Non-Acute NHS Care'. This accounted for 27,700 delayed days (28.5% of all NHS delays). The number of delays attributable to this reason showed a general increase between July 2015 and April 2016, before levelling off for several months. Following a large decrease in April 2017, the number remained relatively stable until August 2017, when it saw a further decrease.
The main reason for social care delays in October 2017 was 'Patients Awaiting Care Package in their Own Home'. This accounted for 20,900 delayed days (34.8% of all social care delays), compared to 25,500 in October 2016. The number of delays attributable to this reason had been increasing steadily since February 2015 and reached a peak in December 2016. Delays attributable to this reason have been gradually decreasing since March 2017.
Delays can occur in either an acute or non-acute care setting. The proportion of delays
occurring in acute care in October 2017 was 64.8% compared to 67.1% in October 2016.
Responding to the figures, Margaret Willcox, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said, 'The fact that the proportion of delayed days attributable to social care for those awaiting homecare has fallen by 1.5% since the previous month is good news, particularly for winter preparations. Delays due to this reason have been falling since March this year.
'The figures reflect the fantastic efforts of staff to improve the care of older and disabled people despite significant sector pressures and show how investing in social care can relieve pressures on hospital beds in the NHS.
'Councils continue to prioritise discharge from hospital as well as preventing admission to hospital in the first place. Adult social care needs to be treated as a national priority and given at least equal funding prominence to that of the NHS as both services are inter-dependent.'