A SWEEPING review has found delays in transferring patients from hospital to outside care in Hampshire is double the rate across England.

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) inspection of the county’s health and social care systems for adults over 65 found delays have been “significantly high” since July 2017 and was higher than the national average going back further than that.

In January 2018, the average daily delayed rate per adult population was 22.7 in Hampshire compared to 11.4 across England, and 12.6 in comparable areas.

The largest reason for delays for patients fit to be discharged from hospital was waiting on care packages in their own home, followed by large numbers waiting for a placement at a nursing or residential home, the inspectors found.

This causes more beds to be filled in hospitals, causing issues for other patients.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, chairman of Hampshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “The issue of delays in people leaving hospital is complex. However, it is one the county council and our partners are determined to tackle.

“Significant work has already been undertaken in this regard and improvements are being seen, but there is no quick or simple fix.”

She added: “We continue to look for ways to tackle what is a national problem.”

From the CQC’s Local System Review it looked at how people moved between services, reviewing 24 care and treatment records and visiting 20 services in the local area including hospitals, care homes, GP practices, hospices and out-of-hours services.

Across the county, inspectors said partnerships were improving but found the level of care often depended on where people lived.

South Central Ambulance Service also confirmed that people’s experiences differed depending on the hospital they were taken to for treatment.

CQC chief inspector for adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “We found there are some excellent systems in place within Hampshire, with a consistently shared purpose and strategy for health and social care and a welcome commitment to improve how people move between different services.

“However, people‘s experience varies depending where in the county they live.

“There is considerable variation in how the larger hospitals respond when people need urgent admission at times of high demand, or when people are ready to come out of hospital, but still need continuing care.

“As a result older people often experience delays in receiving urgent care and when they are discharged home.”

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) which runs hospitals in Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover came into the spotlight for missing the 95 per cent NHS target to see A&E patients within four hours.

The trust trailed behind at 86.6 per cent and Basingstoke hospital was said to often admit persons to reablement services to avoid the breach.

Inspectors said this meant people would not necessarily be admitted to the right place but in response HHFT says it is working to improve its target performance and works with partners such as mental health trust Southern Health and Hampshire County Council to transfer patients for different care when hospital is not the right place for them.

The trust added it is now working on making Basingstoke hospital’s A&E department more dementia friendly after staff told inspectors they thought the area caused unnecessary anxiety to people with the condition and their families.

A HHFT spokesperson said: “HHFT feels the review is helpful in bringing partners together to identify opportunities to improve our services.”

West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which holds the budget for hospital, community and ambulance services in the Andover area, said the organisation is working with partners to provide the “best” health and care services.

Chief officer Heather Hauschild said: “The report highlighted the complexity of delivering health and care services across Hampshire.”

“There is still much to do, but as the report highlighted we collectively maintain a clear purpose and strategy, and continue to work closely with partners from the public, independent and voluntary sectors to work for the benefit of the people of Hampshire.”

The review’s findings are set to be discussed by Hampshire County Council on July 10, and by Hampshire Health and Wellbeing Board on October 11.