Disruption from delayed transfers remains severe and widespread

24 August 2017

 

NHS England has published bed availability and occupancy figures for Q1.

Despite a slight easing of pressure, new figures from NHS England show bed occupancy rates and delayed transfers of care (DTOCs) for patients who are medically fit to move on after treatment have remained stubbornly high.

The NHS has been told to bring the DTOC rate down to 3.5% by September. The quarterly data covering April, May and June show the rate fell to 5.2%, compared with 5.6% in the previous quarter.

 

Responding to the figures, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said:

“Delayed transfers of care are a major cause of anxiety and inconvenience for patients. They also affect the ability of hospitals, mental health and community trusts and ambulance services to deal with spikes in demand. That is why tackling the problem is such a priority for the NHS.

Decisions are needed now to ensure patient safety and prevent intolerable pressures on NHS staff in the coming months.

“These figures show a modest dip in DTOC rates and bed occupancy levels compared with the start of the year, but nothing like the progress needed to hit the 3.5% target set for the NHS by September. Just 80 out of more than 200 trusts met that standard. This does not bode well for the coming winter when we expect to see further pressures on the health service.

“We need urgent action to put in place additional capacity, not just in hospitals but right across the health and care system. It is notable that the DTOC rate was highest in community trusts. Decisions are needed now to ensure patient safety and prevent intolerable pressures on NHS staff in the coming months”

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