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Photo – Emily Outside St Helier Hospital

Photo – Emily Outside St Helier Hospital

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of delayed discharges from hospitals in a further sign that the NHS is going backwards under the Lib Dem and Tory Government, says Emily Brothers, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam. At Epsom and St Helier University Hospital NHS Trust the number of wasted bed days has increased by 79% since 2010. In August 2010 delayed discharges stood at 296, but latest figures for January 2015 reveal that delayed discharges meant that 530 bed days were wasted, at an estimated cost of £145,750, as many elderly people were left stuck in hospital.
Nationally, the number of delayed days per month has almost doubled under this Government – from 55,332 in August 2010 to 103,776 in January 2015. The number of delayed days has increased by 14 per cent in the last month.
Over the past year there have been more than a million delayed days, costing almost £287 million – enough to pay for 6,875 nurses or a year of home visits for more than 41,000 older and disabled people.
Last month almost 3,600 patients were delayed in being discharged from hospitals, costing the NHS more than £28.5 million.
Many elderly people are finding themselves stuck in hospital as they wait for the support they need to move back home, for a place in a residential or nursing home - accounting for 40 per cent of all delays.
Emily Brothers raised her concerns about delayed discharges at today’s board meeting of Epsom and St Helier University Hospital NHS Trust. She said:
“This Government’s plan for the NHS is failing. These terrible figures show the scale of the care crisis that is affecting the most vulnerable people in Sutton.
“Increasing numbers of elderly people in our community are ending up in hospital, rather than receiving the proper support they need in their own home.
“This is the terrible state of affairs for which Paul Burstow, the former Care Services Minister, must take responsibility for creating. Instead of developing integrated care, the Liberal Democrats sided with a £3 Billion re-organisation that encourages more private profit.
“Labour will join up health and social care to help more elderly people in Sutton stay healthy and living independently in their own homes.
“I hope that the new Vanguard Partnership with Sutton Council will help to unblock beds, as the hospital’s CEO, Daniel Elkeles suggests, responding to my concerns.”
Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s Shadow Care and Older People’s Minister, said:
“Under the Tories thousands of frail, elderly people are reaching crisis point, ending up in A&E and getting stuck in hospital. This could be avoided if they had the right care and support in the community or at home. Instead, this Government has slashed social care, which is bad for elderly people and their families, and costs the taxpayer far more.
“Delayed discharges cost £287 million in the last year alone – money which could have paid for a year of home visits for more than 41,000 elderly people, or 6,875 nurses.
“Labour has a better plan. We will join up health and social care to help people stay living healthily in their own home and get the best value for taxpayers’ money.”

1. Delayed Transfers of Care figures show that there were 103,776 acute delayed days in January 2015. This is the highest number of delayed days in a single month since this data was first collected in 2010. It is an increase of 88 per cent on the first collection of these figures in August 2010. Full statistics can be found at http://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/delayed-transfers-of-care/delayed-transfers-of-care-data-2014-15/ 
2. There were 1,042,434 acute delayed days in total in the year to January 2015.
Year Period Hospital delayed days
2013-14 February 71,872
2013-14 March 78,887
2013-14 April 73,940
2013-14 May 81,270
2013-14 June 81,078
2013-14 July 87,767
2014-15 August 90,840
2014-15 September 91,569
2014-15 October 96,564
2014-15 November 94,046
2014-15 December 90,825
2014-15 January 103,776
Total for 12 months 1,042,434
3. According to Department of Health reference costs, each excess bed day costs £275 (Department of Health, NHS Reference costs 2013-14, November 2014, (see page 5. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/380322/01_Final_2013-14_Reference_Costs_publication_v2.pdf)
This means that delayed discharges from hospital cost the NHS £286,669,350 in the year to January 2015.
4. The average cost of an hour of home care in England is now £13.37, according to an FoI request to local authorities from Liz Kendall. The money spent on delayed discharges in the year to January 2015 could therefore have paid for 21.4 million hours of home care. A typical care user receives ten hours of home care a week, or 520 hours a year. This means that 41,233 people could have had their home care funded.
5. The average cost of employing a nurse is £41,700 (according to the Government’s answer to a Written Question number 159457). The money spent on delayed discharges in the year to January 2015 could have paid for 6,875 nurses for a year.

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