In March the Department of Health published what it wants the NHS to deliver over the next 12 months, including a new target to reduce the delays people can face when leaving hospital. The target aimed to reduce the number of beds occupied by people who were clinically ready to leave to 3.5% of occupied beds by September 2017.
Statistics released today by NHS England confirm that this target has not been met, with delayed transfers of care (DTOCs) making up 5% of occupied beds.
Responding to this news, Healthwatch England Deputy Director Neil Tester said:
“The NHS Mandate’s target to reduce delayed transfers of care to 3.5% of occupied beds was always an ambitious target. However, the level of aspiration it signalled helped to set the tone for NHS organisations to tackle the problem in new and innovative ways. It’s disappointing to see that these programmes are yet to make serious headway.
“While it is good to see that the efforts made by the NHS and local councils over the past year have begun to reduce delays in leaving hospital, we also need to remember what people have consistently told Healthwatch – that getting home safely is just as important as getting home quickly.
“Local Healthwatch will continue to work with others across NHS and social care to ensure that people’s experiences of leaving hospital help to inform efforts to reduced delayed discharges, and highlight the importance of people being discharged safely, effectively and with the correct support.”