Fall in delayed discharges from hospital

Fall in delayed discharges from hospital

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:30am 3rd March 2020.

Dorset is performing better in dealing with delayed discharges from hospital care.

The county is now mainly operating within target times of around seven days and the overall figures for delays have fallen during the past two years.

Research has shown than a delay in someone’s discharge from hospital can affect their recovery and independence – and also places pressures on hospital beds which can mean people who need acute inpatient care are also affected.

The performance figures may be critical if the county suffers from an outbreak of coronavirus with patient needing hospital treatment.

Photo of Dorset County Hospital

Dorset’s overall delayed discharge figures continue to show an improvement in speeding up the release of patients from hospital – although the reasons for delays vary widely.

In August 2017 levels peaked at 985 delayed days in the month, in contrast to a recent lowest-ever figure of 80 delays in November 2019.

The figures represent the extremes of performance over three years but public health officials say that overall the trend has been for a decreasing number of days delayed.

The county is now 77th of 150 local authority areas for its overall discharge figures although when NHS attributable delays account for around 78 per cent of days delayed in the Dorset system, making it one of the worst NHS performers nationally at 141th place out of 150 local authority areas.

Medical Hospital

'Reasons for delays'

Figures show that social care reasons for delays has waiting for a social care package for care to be set up accounting for 52 per cent of the social care attributable days delayed in Dorset for 2019-20, compared to 33 per cent nationally.

Other reasons for delays vary from waits for an assessment, public funding for care, waiting a residential home place or a care package at home, waiting for equipment for the home or even disputes over who pays for services.

The average delay now stands at just over 7 days.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter