Medically fit patients are waiting up to nine months to be discharged from some NHS hospitals as increasing numbers of working age people develop more complex conditions amid ongoing social care shortages, HSJ can reveal.
Trust data obtained by HSJ suggests patients at the hospitals which have struggled most with delayed discharges can face delays of many months after a decision has been made that they are fit to leave hospital.
HSJ obtained data from seven trusts which have consistently reported high numbers of delayed discharges through a freedom of information request.
At North Bristol Trust, one patient waited more than nine months to be discharged, while another waited around eight months.
David Maguire, a senior analyst at The King’s Fund think tank, said lengthy delayed discharges often involve patients with highly complex needs, elderly and frail patients, or people with mental health conditions or learning difficulties. But he said there is also a growing number of working age people with chronic and more complex conditions.
He added: “There has always been a large number of older people who will access health care and hospital services. But over the last few years we have seen a growing number of working age people requiring hospital care and social care services. That’s a growing part of the demand which will flow through into who needs discharge from hospital settings.
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Source: HSJ, 31 August 2022