Social care crisis must be addressed to encourage timely discharge and alleviate system pressures

Commenting on the latest Urgent and Emergency Care Daily Situation Report 2021-22 that shows nearly one third of patients who were in hospital for 21 days or more were fit for discharge, Dr Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:

“These data reflect the deepening social care crisis. We currently have the highest number of long stay patients (21 days or more) since winter 2017-18. Last week, on average, 6,500 beds were occupied by patients who are fit for discharge, and only one in 10 of these patients were able to be discharged daily (on average). All these patients will want to return home and to their communities, but they are unable to because there isn’t the support to aid them upon their discharge.

“There must be a system-wide effort and focus on discharging patients, but such effort will only translate to meaningful action if the government address and take urgent steps to resource social care. Freeing up these beds would help alleviate system pressures, particularly those on Emergency Departments, and promote vital flow throughout the hospital.”