Wigan hospital discharge delays reduced

Christopher Broadbent
Christopher Broadbent

Fewer borough patients face delays in being discharged from hospital, new figures reveal.

NHS England records “delayed transfers of care”, which are days when the patients were medically fit to leave hospital but stuck in beds while preparations were made for their care upon discharge, sometimes known as bed blocking.

The latest figures show there were 291 delayed days in Wigan in April.

This was a significant drop from previous months, when there were 341 delayed days in March, 465 in February and 656 in January.

Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), which runs the borough’s hospitals, was responsible for 142 delayed days during the month.

This was an improvement from 196 days in March and 246 days in February.

Across England, there were 144,997 delayed days in total during April, with the highest number - 7,138 days - recorded in Hampshire.

The majority of delays in Wigan were caused by waiting for further non-acute NHS care or were the choice of the patient or their family.

Other reasons included waiting for a place in a residential or nursing home, for an assessment to be completed or for community equipment and adaptations.

An integrated discharge team (IDT) was set up in Wigan in 2016, which sees representatives from several borough organisations working together to overcome any obstacles when patients were leaving hospital.

Members of NHS, social care and voluntary services plan for discharge as soon as a patient is admitted, working out which services and support they will need.

The reduction in delayed transfers of care follows the news that waiting times at Wigan Infirmary’s A&E department have improved.

The trust treated 94.3 per cent of patients within four hours in May, rising by 20 per cent from the previous month and bringing it close to the 95 per cent national standard, which it has not met since 2015.