Intermediate care: How can private care operators provide pain relief for the NHS?
Over the previous winter the average hospital had approximately 200 patients on its wards who had been deemed medically fit for discharge at a cost estimated to be between £300 and £360 a day. Many care providers have said there is sufficient availability in their sector to accommodate these patients, so why aren’t the transfers taking place and what can be done to avoid the crisis repeating itself this winter?
Tackling delayed transfers of care (DTOCs) has become a key focus for the Department of Health & Social Care over the last year after record delays were recorded in 2016/17. Figures published by NHS England revealed there were over 2.25 million delayed days across health and social care during the year – up 25% on 2015/16.
Since then, boosted by an additional £1bn through the Improved Better Care Fund and new targets set by NHS England, there has been a marked reduction in DTOCs.
Despite the difficult winter, figures published by NHS England in May show there were 154,600 DTOCs in March 2018 compared to 199,600 the same time last year. It is a dramatic improvement but still falls short of the NHS England target that no more than 3.5% of available NHS beds should be occupied by patients fit for discharge.
According to a House of Commons Briefing Paper on NHS Key Statistics published earlier this year, the latest data suggest that 4.4% of possible NHS bed days were lost to delayed transfers in September and that by March 2018, the rate had reduced to around 3.9%, with over 102,000 of DTOCs in acute care.
Trowers & Hamlins and Grant Thornton invited key stakeholders in the sector to take part in a roundtable discussion to help identify the problems and open a dialogue on how the public and private sectors can work collaboratively to find solutions to DTOCs and the knock on effects, such as the winter bed crisis.
Download the full report here.