NHS Providers responds to AACE report on hospital handover delays

14 September 2023

Responding to the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) report, Taking Stock, which shows that patient handover delays have increased significantly in the last decade, and that in the 12 months to March 2023, nearly 2 million hours were lost due to delays exceeding the 15-minute national target, Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers said:

"This report shows many trust leaders are working effectively to reduce handover delays by focusing on culture, dedicated risk management and collaboration with partners. Too often, though, mounting pressure is undermining best efforts.

"Rising handover delays over the last decade are symptomatic of the relentless pressure on the whole health and care system.

"These delays mean that ambulance crews are not always able to respond to 999 calls from critically ill patients. In addition to the direct impact on patients, this is incredibly demoralising, even traumatising, for many staff involved. This is especially concerning as we head into winter, the most challenging time of year for the NHS.

"Boosting capacity in social care and community services would help hospitals discharge people who are well enough to leave in a timely way. This would free up beds, speed up A&E admissions and help to reduce handover delays.

"For trust leaders to be able to continue to make progress in tackling handover delays, we need to see urgent reform of social care and adequate investment in community services."