Delayed transfers of care and social care

A shortage of available hospital beds can be exacerbated by an increase in “bed blocking” resulting from delays in the transfer of care. Delayed transfers are often due to challenges associated with arranging community nursing, social care or the availability of an appropriately equipped care environment.

NHS England, the body responsible for monitoring delayed transfers of care nationally, defines a patient as being ready for transfer when:

  • a clinical decision has been made that the patient is ready for transfer, and
  • a multidisciplinary team has decided that the patient is ready for transfer, and
  • the patient is safe to discharge/transfer.

As soon as a patient meets these three conditions but remains in their hospital bed, the ‘clock’ starts and they are classified as ‘a delayed transfer’.1

It is even more important during the periods of increased emergency admissions in the winter months that health and care providers and professionals adopt best practice principles when discharging older people – such as those found in the recent NICE guideline NG27.2

This guideline covers the transition between the inpatient hospital settings and community or care homes for adults with social care needs. It aims to improve people's experience of admission to, and discharge from, hospital by better coordination of health and social care services.3

National data on the reasons for delayed transfers of care is collected in several categories, see graph below.

Delayed transfers of care

This year there has been a cash injection of £240m to social care funding to help reduce “bed blocking” and ease the capacity pressures on the NHS this winter. 

Mr Hancock, Health Secretary said: “We will use this money to get people who don’t need to be in hospital, but do need care, back home, back into their communities, so we can free up those vital hospital beds. And help people who really need it, get the hospital care they need.”4

Arjo Rental provides both flexibility and choice, allowing access to wide range of bespoke solutions which include the latest equipment to support people with post-acute care needs. 

Click here for more info on how Arjo Rental can help you

1. The Kind's Fund, Delayed transfers of care: a quick guide, January 2019 [Accessed 04/12/2018]
2. BMA Briefing Paper - Beating the effects of winter pressures, updated 2016 
3. NICE, Transition between inpatient hospital settings and community or care home settings for adults with social care needs, December 2015 [Accessed 04/12/2018]
4. [Accessed 04/12/2018]