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Care Delays Cause A Quarter Of Bed Blocking

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Nearly A Quarter Of Bed Blocking In England Is Due To Delays In Providing Residential Or Nursing Home Placement

Severe cuts in local authorities’ social services provision is the major contributory factor for bed blocking says GMB.

A new report from GMB, the union for staff in the health and care sector, shows that delays in providing residential and nursing home placement cause 417,748 days lost to bed blocking, 23.8% of the total. (See notes to editors for a full list of reasons for delayed transfer).

The figures also show that the number of days lost to bed blocking has increased by 27% in English hospitals between the year to January 2012 and the year to January 2016, from 1.38m to 1.76m, an increase of 376,000 days.

There were 159,089 delayed days in January 2016, compared to 150,392 in January 2015. This was the second highest number of total delayed days reported in a month since monthly data was first collected in August 2010. The highest was 160,094 days in October 2015.

There were 5,799 patients delayed at midnight on the last Thursday of January 2016, the highest number on the last Thursday of a month since data was first collected in August 2010.

 

number of days - year to January 2016

 

 

Awaiting residential/nursing home placement/availability

Total transfer of care delays

%

England

417,748

1,755,670

23.8

South East

84,605

339,319

24.9

South West

69,616

248,289

28.0

West Midlands

57,330

240,430

23.8

North West

51,448

212,113

24.3

London

51,118

170,593

30.0

East of England

39,651

187,371

21.2

East Midlands

28,193

164,151

17.2

Yorkshire and The Humber

26,742

144,488

18.5

North East

7,867

42,128

18.7

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer said “Bed blocking is choking the NHS. The economic irrationality of failing to fund social care properly is as plain as the nose on George Osborne’s face. A rise in bed blocking has gone hand in hand with the chancellor's year on year cuts to councils' budgets.

Hospitals are under increasing strain and these figures show that with better investment and funding of the residential and nursing care home sector more could be done to alleviate this downward spiral.

Bed blocking is the predictable result of a government policy which is demonstrably penny wise and pound foolish. As government underfunding sends social care down the pan, so the NHS is dragged with it: Bed blocking rises, we spend money we don't need to spend keeping people in hospital who shouldn't be there and, to cap it all, make many of them sicker by doing so. A hospital is not an appropriate place for these patients to be left unnecessarily.

Proper investment now in the residential care sector, which is willing and ready to help with the bed blocking crisis in the NHS, is cheaper in the long run, better for those who should be discharged and frees beds for those who actually need to be in hospital."

End

Contact: Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Rehana Azam on  07841 181656 GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691

Notes to editors

Results for 2011 are collected between February 2011 and January 2012.

Results for 2015 are collected between February 2015 and January 2016.

1 Reasons for delayed transfer of care

Reasons for delayed transfer of Care - Feb 2015-Jan 2016

delayed days

%

Awaiting residential or nursing home placement or availability

417,748

23.8

Waiting further NHS non-acute care

327,638

18.7

Completion of assessment

304,920

17.4

Awaiting care package in own home

296,909

16.9

Patient or family choice

224,739

12.8

Public funding

67,507

3.8

Housing - patients not covered by NHS and Community Care Act

50,567

2.9

Awaiting community equipment and adaptions

44,645

2.5

Disputes

20,997

1.2

2 Total number of Delayed Transfer of Care days by region.

 

year to January 2012

year to January 2016

change

England

1,379,640

1,755,670

376,030

South East

259,909

339,319

79,410

North West

137,856

212,113

74,257

South West

180,967

248,289

67,322

East of England

132,528

187,371

54,843

London

134,386

170,593

36,207

Yorkshire and The Humber

112,241

144,488

32,247

East Midlands

139,888

164,151

24,263

West Midlands

218,705

240,430

21,725

North East

59,816

42,128

-17,688

3 GMB press release dated Tuesday, March 1, 2016

GMB Welcome Independent Report Setting Out How Over £3 Billion Wasted By Nhs On Bed Blocking Should Be Used To Solve Residential Care Crisis

The residential care sector is willing and ready to help with the bed blocking crisis in the NHS says GMB.

GMB, the union for care workers, welcome the report, ‘Care after Cure: Creating a fast track pathway from hospitals to homes’ released today, (1 March 2016) by ResPublica, an independent non-partisan think tank.

The report shows that hospitals are under increasing strain in terms of capacity and finance with the NHS wasting £3.3 billion by 2020/21 caring for patients who no longer need medical treatment. This money would be better spent on a ‘Fast Track Discharge Fund’ to move vulnerable older people into the care of residential care homes.

Between 2011/12 and 2015/16 there was a 21% rise in the number of hospital beds continually ‘blocked’ due to delayed transfer of care, from 3,575 to 4,282. The report forecasts this figure could rise to 5,300 by 2010/21.

The Fast Track Discharge Fund would free up thousands of hospital beds by reducing delays with residential care homes bridging the gap by looking after recuperating patients. A pdf copy of the report and the ResPublica press release is set out at the foot of this release.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer for the care sector said "The crippling costs to the NHS of bed blocking prove that there is no place for austerity in the funding of social care - to do so is morally indefensible and financially stupid.

The future of the NHS is intertwined with the fate of social care; as government underfunding sends social care down the pan, so the NHS is dragged with it: bed blocking rises, we spend money we don't need to spend keeping people in hospital who shouldn't be there and, to cap it all, make many of them sicker by doing so.

Proper investment now in the residential care sector, which is willing and ready to help with the bed blocking crisis in the NHS, is cheaper in the long run, better for those who should be discharged and frees beds for those who actually need to be in hospital."

Backing the report, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee, said: “This report from ResPublica provides compelling evidence that social care cannot be seen in isolation from the NHS. There is an urgent need to improve access to social care and to address the delayed transfers of care and this can no longer be side-lined by policy makers.”

Baroness Joan Bakewell, a champion for older people, said: “Care homes are vital to our community and most importantly to the people who live in them. I welcome ResPublica’s report that acknowledges the important role that care homes play in our society and proposes important mechanisms for ensuring their sustainable future.

“We value the work good care homes do and this report acknowledges this role and can contribute to securing it for the future. Helping vulnerable people with dementia to live in an environment appropriate for their needs, rather than in an environment not suitable for them, is crucial. Bed-blocking in hospitals causes great grievance to vulnerable elderly people, and this report is a great first step in helping this situation.”

Ian Smith, Chairman of Four Seasons Healthcare, said: “Discharging medically stable patients from hospital to a recovery period of care in a nursing home is a good idea that works in practice. We know because is already happening in our homes, although so far it is on a relatively small scale.

We currently have around 375 people who are recuperating in our homes while their longer term care needs are assessed and arrangements made for their ongoing care. It is freeing up hospital beds and saving NHS budgets. We recently launched a 24-7 rapid response assessment and admissions service that helps hospital discharge teams to locate care services in appropriate homes.”

Dr Chai Patel, Chairman and Acting CEO of HC-One, said: “This report provides further evidence that the crisis in our health and social care system can be avoided.

Every day hundreds of thousands of older people receive kind and quality support in care homes up and down the country. Not only does this save money for the publish purse, compared to supporting people in hospitals, it also means more hospital beds for those who need them, and crucially better care for older people who truly deserve it.

We want care homes to be part of a solution that protects our NHS and gives frail elderly people care and support when they need it most. Unless we urgently tackle this growing crisis, we risk the NHS losing billions of pounds, hundreds of care homes closing, and older people suffering needlessly in overcrowded hospital wards.”

Mike Parish, Chief Executive of care provider Care UK, said: “The most critical issue facing our NHS hospitals is inpatient and A&E congestion caused by the unnecessary admission of patients, due principally to limitations in primary care, and difficulties in discharging frail and elderly patients because of the under-funded and under-developed state of social care.

This causes unnecessary distress and harm to these patients and is immensely costly.

This can be addressed through more effective partnership and investment in better resourced and technologically enabled forms of primary and social care, and this report makes a strong case for such strategies.”

Peter Kyle, the MP for Hove who has campaigned for better care for the elderly, said: “The situation in the residential care home sector is dire at the moment. The 2% precept and the Better Care Fund are supposed to make up the gap in public spending on the social care sector, but there is little confidence that they can - or will - do this. I welcome ResPublica’s practical proposals as an important step in developing funding models for a more sustainable health and social care system.”

Ends

4 GMB press release dated Friday, February 12, 2016

The severe cuts in local authorities’ social services provision is the major contributory factor for bed-blocking getting worse says GMB

A new report from GMB, the union for staff in the health and care sector, shows that the number of days lost to bed blocking has increased by 26% in English hospitals between 2015 and 2011.

In 2015 NHS patients in England who were ready to be discharged but were kept in hospital due to delays in providing alternative care were delayed by 1,746,973 days. This was an increase of 364,921 days compared with 1,382,052 days in 2011.

There were a variety of reasons delaying the discharge of patients from hospitals in 2015. These include sorting out a place in a care home (27.7%), delays in arranging further NHS care (19.1%), sorting out care at a patient’s home (19.1%), interagency delays (17.4%), delays due to patient or family choice about future care (12.7%) and other reasons (4.1%). The figures shown are for England for the year 2015.

The changes in the nine regions of the England are as follows: For the South East there was an increase of 73,734 days to 334,959 in 2015. For the North West there was an increase of 68,697 days to 207,367. For the South West there has been an increase of 64,025 days to 245,925. For the East of England there has been an increase of 54,017 days to 186,122. For Yorkshire and the Humber there has been an increase of 35,835 days to 147,316. For London there has been an increase of 35,306 days to 167,725. For the East Midlands there has been an increase of 24,748 days to 164,044. For The West Midlands there has been an increase of 21,886 days to 243,834. The North East was the only region not to see an increase to the number of days lost to bed blocking, reporting a decrease of 16,628 to 42,983. The table below shows the full details for the nine regions in England.

Set out in notes to Editor are details for the twenty areas in England with the largest increase in days delayed leaving NHS hospitals between 2011 and 2015.

There are no figures available for the total number of patients delayed. On one day at the end of each month the NHS counts the number of patients in hospital whose discharge is delayed. For the year 2015 for those 12 days the total was 60,501 patients.

The data, published by NHS England was analysed and ranked by GMB. See notes to editors for sources and definitions. The table in Notes to Editors 2 sets out the official data for all 9 regions in the England. The raw data for 151 areas in England plus the other GMB press releases with regional data are set out as PDFs at the foot of the national release at GMB website http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/

 

Number of Delayed Days

 

 

2011

2015

change

England

1,382,052

1,746,973

364,921

South East

261,225

334,959

73,734

North West

138,670

207,367

68,697

South West

181,900

245,925

64,025

East of England

132,105

186,122

54,017

Yorkshire and The Humber

111,481

147,316

35,835

London

132,419

167,725

35,306

East Midlands

139,296

164,044

24,748

West Midlands

221,948

243,834

21,886

North East

59,611

42,983

-16,628

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer, said "Bed-blocking, which is a millstone around the neck of the NHS, has got considerably worse since the Tories took control of the nation’s finances.

Bed-blocking is now a problem made in Downing Street and the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are wholly responsible for it.

The severe cuts in local authorities’ social services provision is the major contributory factor for bed-blocking getting worse.

For England as a whole bed-blocking has increased from 1.4 million days in 2011 to over 1.7 million days last year.

Councils have had to shunt the problem to the NHS. Councils have not been able to accept the patients from the NHS because they have been starved of funds.”

End

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