Action demanded on delayed hospital transfers

Original by Allan George, North Wales Pioneer -

A CALL for action to tackle Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s record of delayed transfers of care has been made by an AM.


A delayed transfer of care is experienced by an inpatient in a hospital, who is ready to move on to the next stage of care but is prevented from doing so for one or more reasons.

Janet Finch-Saunders, AM for Aberconwy and shadow minister for social care, said Betsi Cadwaladr’s record is the worst in the Welsh NHS. In August 2019 BCUHB recorded 99 delayed transfers of care, 81 cases waited up to three weeks, seven up to six weeks, and two more than 26 weeks. This is the highest number since October 2018.

She said: “I have considered the causes of the delays in detail, and it turns out the major issues are with community care arrangements, availability in care homes, and health care arrangements. I explained to the Welsh Government how it could do more to support care homes and stem the tide of closures, which should help with availability. It is time to deal with delays to transfers of care now by implementing a clear strategy which should help reverse the increasing number of patients who are stuck. I have personal experience of the stress the situation causes to patients and their family and friends. I will continue to work to help reduce the number of people caught up in the same chaos”.

A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: “Delayed transfers of care can occur for a number of reasons, including patients awaiting specialist care home placements and patients waiting for care in their preferred location. Our hospital sites and mental health teams work closely with community and social service partners to support the timely transfer of patients from hospital to a community setting close to home, appropriate residential or nursing care, or to support patients in their own homes.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Delayed transfers of care figures are at historical low levels in Wales. Health boards, local authorities and the third sector are working hard to ensure people can return home from hospital when they are ready. We will invest an extra £30m to support health and social services deliver safe and timely care over the winter.”