Responding to the latest NHS England figures for delayed transfers of care, Margaret Willcox, Vice President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said:

“These figures, although not the highest, are prior to Christmas and new year; since then we have seen a most difficult period with more people attending A&E than ever. Social workers and care staff did a brilliant job covering the holiday, but unless there is sufficient care at home, people will continue to attend A&E, leading to increasing pressures on hospital staff already struggling to cope with demand.

“The fact that there were 24,500 delayed days in November because people were waiting for care packages in their own home – an increase of more than half on one year earlier - is a matter of enormous concern and reflects the crisis facing adult social care.

“Despite councils doing everything they can to protect adult social care budgets and look after the needs of their communities, more patients are experiencing delays in leaving hospital compared to this time last year.

“With care homes closing, councils projecting in-year overspends of almost £450 million, and the cost of the welcome National Living Wage, services are in significant and increasing jeopardy.

“The social care system needs an urgent, long-term and sustainable solution to make sure people get the care and support they need in the right place and at the right time, otherwise there will be worrying consequences for older and disabled people, their families and carers, with more vulnerable people spending longer in hospital - rather than in their own home and communities – as the winter pressures take effect.”


Notes to Editors

  • There were 193,700 total delayed days in November 2016, up from 153,200 (a 26% increase) in November 2015
  • The proportion of delays attributable to social care has increased over the last year to 34.8% in November 2016, up from 31.1% in November 2015
  • The main reason for social care delays was patients awaiting care package in their own home. This accounted for 24,500 delayed days (36.3% of all social care delays) in November 2016, compared to 16,300 in November 2015 (a rise of 50.3%)
  • An ADASS survey of 129 of 152 directors of adult social services revealed that the average projected overspend per council for the year ending 31 March 2017 is £2.9 million. If this scenario were replicated for all 152 councils the combined overspend for 2016/17 would be in the region of £441 million. In 2015/16 the combined overspend was £168 million.