Council leaders have welcomed a reduction in the number of days patients who are ready to be discharged are left in hospital due to a lack of suitable care.
NHS performance statistics showed that in November 2017 patients spent a total of 155,100 extra days in hospital beds waiting to be discharged, compared to 193,200 in November 2016.
This equates to an average of 5,169 beds occupied each day in November 2017 by a patient subject to a delayed transfer of care — a decrease of 1,271 beds.
Chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) community wellbeing board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: ‘This continued improvement is testament to the ongoing hard work by councils to get people out of hospital and living in their own homes and communities with the support they need in the right place and at the right time.’
Cllr Seccombe stressed that delayed transfers were a symptom of the underlying pressures across the whole health and care system and not their cause.
She continued: ‘Tackling these underlying causes must be the priority.
‘This year’s winter health crisis and the way councils are successfully using extra social care funding from the Government to reduce delays should incentivise government to now fully fund our social care system.
‘It is clear that there cannot be a sustainable NHS without a sustainable social care system.
‘Social care needs to be put on an equal footing with the NHS and government needs to use the upcoming final local government finance settlement to address immediate pressures and the £2.3bn funding gap facing social care by 2020.’