Published: Wednesday, 10th July 2019

Patients in Medway have seen the shortest waiting times for transfers of care in the south east.

This means that the number of patients waiting to be discharged from hospital are lower in Medway than anywhere else in the South East of England.

A delayed transfer of care (DTOC) occurs when a patient is ready to leave hospital but is still occupying a bed.

The latest figures from the Local Government Association show that the rate of average daily delays, per 100,000 adults, was 4.4 in April 2019. This equates to an average of 9.3 adults being delayed each day. England’s average daily delay rate for the same period was 9.9 per 100,000 adults. In November 2018 Medway’s rate was 7.8 per 100,000 adults.

Medway Council has been working hard with partners at Medway Maritime Hospital, Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Medway Community Healthcare (MCH) to reduce the delays and other local authorities are using Medway as an example of best practice.

The council has jointly commissioned the Home First service with Medway CCG to reduce the number of people who stay in hospital when they could continue treatment, or recover, at home with help from services in the community.

Home First supports people who are being discharged to ensure they can be as independent as possible in their own homes.

There is also an integrated discharge service to ensure that partners work together so when someone is discharged appropriate support has been arranged for them. 

We're talking about residents' lives 

Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, said: “We are committed to continuing to reduce the number of delayed discharges however it is of paramount importance to remember that we are talking about residents’ lives. We need to ensure that when they are discharged from hospital, they receive the right support. We don’t want people staying in hospital a day longer than necessary but appropriate support must be in place.”

Highly effective and sustained 

Stuart Jeffery, Deputy Managing Director at Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We are really pleased to see that the effort that we have collectively put in to reducing delays has been highly effective and has been sustained. Working together across the NHS and local government has really paid dividends for patient care and prevented people waiting too long in hospital.”

Committed to ensuring patients do not have to spend unnecessary days in hospital

James Devine, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “We are pleased with these initial figures which demonstrate the value of working closely with our partners across Kent and Medway to ensure out-of-hospital care is ready for when our patients are well enough to be discharged.

“We know we still have more to do to consistently keep our DTOC rates at acceptable levels, and we remain committed to working with our partners to ensure that our patients do not have to spend unnecessary days in hospital.”

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