Delayed discharges from West Sussex hospitals due to care issues are falling

Amanda Jupp, cabinet member for adults and health, welcomed the new figures
Amanda Jupp, cabinet member for adults and health, welcomed the new figures

The combined number of days patients are delayed in West Sussex hospitals until care can be arranged is at its lowest point since early 2015.

Working with NHS colleagues, social care staff play an important role in helping keep delayed discharges as low as possible.

In West Sussex these teams have helped maintain delayed transfer of care levels below the national minimum set by government for five out of the last six months.

Ensuring the right onward care or care package is in place for patients who are ready to be discharged from hospital is vital, both for the wellbeing and recovery of the patients who no longer need acute hospital care and for ensuring there is sufficient hospital capacity for those who need to be admitted.

Achieving the statutory minimum for ‘delayed transfers of care’ requires a huge team effort across adult operations, adult hospital teams, brokerage, commissioning and contracting and as a result of these co-ordinated efforts the November 2018 level was the lowest level since April 2015, down to 336 ‘delayed days’ against a national target of a minimum of 517 ‘delayed days’.

Amanda Jupp, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for adults and health, said: “It is great news that we have been able to support so many people to find suitable onward care when they are ready to leave hospital. We are very aware that the pressure on acute hospitals continues year round and that this good work needs to continue, so we are doing all we can to help manage this pressure.

“In the short term we are about to invest in further care and support at home. As the year progresses work will be carried out, jointly with our health partners, on the Step Up Step Down programme to develop Home First services, which will get more people out of hospital and into their own home, rather than into another bed. This on-going work will ensure that more people are able to return home in a timely way and give them the best opportunity to maintain their independence.”

Jeannie Baumann, director of operations (resilience) at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We welcome the support West Sussex County Council provides, helping patients to be safely discharged from hospital once they are medically fit to leave.

“As an acute care provider, we have a duty to ensure our beds are occupied only by people in need of acute hospital treatment, and so we encourage patients to accept the first offer that enables them to leave hospital.

“On occasion, this may not be their first choice but our social care and community healthcare colleagues will continue to support patients to secure a long term solution to meet their care needs.

“We are very grateful to all the families who make these difficult decisions swiftly, because it is in the best interests of their loved one to leave hospital once they no longer require the specialist care we provide.”