The number of people waiting in Cornwall’s hospitals for health and social care support to be arranged so they can return home fell to its lowest level for 17 months in November.
The latest figures show that the number of people in hospital waiting for care and support packages from both Cornwall Council and the NHS fell from a daily average of 174 in January to a daily average of 105 in November – a reduction of 70 and the lowest figure since June 2016. Although there is still more work to do to resolve this, Cornwall’s performance is improving against a national backdrop of increasing delays.
Welcoming the figures Rob Rotchell, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, said the improved performance for November showed that the actions taken by both the Council and the NHS to reduce delayed transfers of care over the past few months were beginning to have a significant impact.
“Delayed transfers of care is a national issue” he said. “Health and care systems around the country are struggling to make sure that people who are ready to return home after a hospital stay can get the care and support that they need quickly to avoid them having to wait in hospital for too long.”
“We share this problem in Cornwall where the rate of delayed transfers of care has been steadily increasing since 2014. The whole health and social care system has been actively working together to ensure that support and care packages are put in place as quickly as possible. This means patients in hospital can be discharged and cared for in a community or home environment as soon as clinically appropriate, releasing beds for new patients to be admitted.“
“This month’s figures show that the measures we have put in place have not only stopped the annual increase, but have resulted in a significant reduction in the number of people waiting in hospital. This will play a key role in helping us to meet this year’s winter pressures.”
The Council has worked closely with health partners to use the Improved Better Care Fund provided by the Government to put a number of new schemes in place. These include additional staff (i.e. 48 generic support workers, dedicated nursing and social care staff, trusted assessors to support care homes), improved community bed capacity, and more flexible and responsive domiciliary care to ensure that patient assessments are carried out in the most appropriate, out-of-hospital setting.
Work has also been taking place on developing specific projects to increase capacity and flow in the provider market. These include increasing the number of packages of domiciliary care commissioned from independent providers by 8% over the past twelve months.