Fall in Lancashire hospital discharge delays - but still many ‘unnecessary days’ spent in beds
and live on Freeview channel 276
The region’s delayed discharge rate stood at eight percent between April and August this year - a 3.4 percent drop compared to the same period in 2022.
However, other stats reveal the scale of the challenge that nevertheless remains to ensure patients do not spend any longer in hospital than they need to.
According to NHS statistics analysed by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, on a ‘snapshot’ day during the week commencing 21st August, 1,651 "additional bed days" had been accrued by Lancashire and South Cumbria patients who had spent at least a week extra in hospital after they had been deemed to meet the criteria to be discharged.
Within that tally, the vast majority - 1,490 additional days - had been built up by people who had spent at least a fortnight too long in hospital, while 1,294 of those days were attributed to patients who had been on the wards for 21 days or more after there was no longer a medical reason for them to remain there.
Throughout August, the most common cause for a discharge delay of more than two weeks was that the patient was waiting for a rehabilitation bed to become available in a community hospital or other suitable setting. An average of 40 patients a day fell into that category across the four, weekly snapshot surveys taken during that month in the region.
The second most common reason for a hold-up in hospital was that the individual was waiting for the start of a care at home package and the necessary assessment to receive it - 31, on average, on any given day in August.
However, waiting for a bed in a nursing or residential home was a far less common cause of delay - an average of 10 across the weekly snapshots - while the same stats indicate that nobody was delayed as a result of awaiting a medical decision or for their discharge summary to be written.
Craig Harris, chief of strategy, commissioning and integration at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB, said of the area’s performance: “When compared to many other health and care systems across the country, Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board’s performance in relation to delayed discharges is on an improvement journey.
“The Lancashire and South Cumbria health and care system is determined to minimise delayed discharges as far as possible to help manage the pressures across our hospitals and to improve patient outcomes.
“Collaborative work with our system partners will continue and we have several projects under way that are positively impacting on hospital discharge.”