Patients are spending unnecessary nights in a hospital bed because of delays in services which would provide their care at home or in another setting.

NHS Hospital Trusts have been working hard with their community partners to improve the integration of services so that patients have a quicker and smoother transfer to the care they need at home, or close to home. Despite these efforts the latest figures from NHS England & Improvement show almost no improvement in the national figures.

In London and the South (East and West), for example, the number of patients waiting for Non-acute NHS care rose by approximately 25% between December 2018 and June 2019. Every day some 330 patients remained in a hospital bed instead of being discharged to receive treatment in another setting. The knock-on effect is a lack of available beds, exacerbating delays in A&E and leading to planned procedures being postponed.

What options are open to NHS Trusts as another busy winter period approaches?

Early Supported Discharge services and Virtual Wards offer a way to provide patients with the care they need at home, instead of in hospital. These services fill in the gap until established community services are available or provide types of home-based care not locally available. Already operated by the NHS and their partner organisations these services offer a safe and cost-effective option for patients who welcome the opportunity of an early return to the familiar surroundings of home.

One of our patients recently summed it up ‘This is a really good service which should be expanded. It enabled me to come home 2 weeks earlier which was better for my well being & saved the cost of my being in hospital. The nurses were very friendly & considerate’

To find out how Early Supported Discharge Services  and Virtual Wards could reduce Delayed Transfers of Care at your hospital this winter please contact Andy Collett andy.collett@homelinkhealthcare.co.uk

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