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Hospital discharge delays rise by 23%


Delays in discharging patients from hospital have risen 23% since June 2015, NHS England has confirmed.

Every day more than 6,000 patients well enough to leave hospital are unable to do so because there is nowhere suitable for them to be discharged to.

NHS England said this figure had now stopped rising but showed the importance of "joined-up" care. Also missed were the waiting-time targets for planned operations, accident and emergency units and ambulance callouts.

The figures show that 90.5% of A&E patients were seen within four hours in June, up from 90.2% in May but below the 95% target. Just more than 69% of ambulances reached the most serious callouts within eight minutes, below the 75% target, Meanwhile 91.5% patients waited fewer than 18 weeks for an operation, below the 92% target.

An NHS England spokesman said: "It's important that patients well enough to leave hospital can do so at the earliest opportunity, and in some parts of the country the system works well.

"These figures underline the importance of joined-up care within the NHS and the dependence of hospitals on well-functioning social care services - particularly for older people living at home."

A waiting time target for mental health, introduced in April, requires that most people experiencing their first psychotic episode are treated with a National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended care package within two weeks of referral. The latest figures show that just more than 73% started treatment within two weeks in June.

Hospitals in England handled more than 1.9m A&E attendances in June, a 2.1% increase on the same month last year, and more than 480,000 emergency admissions, a 4.7% rise.

NHS England director of operations and information, Matthew Swindells, said: "Our front-line services continue to come under intense pressure, but June saw another improvement in performance.

"We continue to admit, treat or discharge more than nine out of 10 emergency patients within the four-hour target time. Thanks to tremendous efforts by the NHS and social care, the number of delayed transfers of care stopped increasing in June, although there were still a significant number of patients waiting for discharge from hospital."