PERFORMANCE: Funding issues within social care have contributed to a red rating for delayed transfers of care at Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust.

The number and percentage of delayed transfers of care has increased in month nine, December, and is now showing red-rating status.

The trust said the reason for these delays is mainly due to patients or families exercising choice, the lack of a social work co-ordinator for the community hospitals, which has resulted in delays in assessment, and patients waiting for either a care home placement or for a package of care to be put in place once their assessment has taken place.

Matrons continue to follow up all delayed transfers and intervene where possible to facilitate discharge. Patients and families are made aware of the need to choose an alternative place of care as soon as this need is identified. However the lack of capacity in care home places is making this issue more problematic.

Funding issues within social care has led to vacancies not being recruited to and this, together with sickness absence, has led to a delay in assessments taking place, according to board papers.

Once patients have been assessed, problems arise when either funding is not available or care agencies do not have the capacity to provide the necessary care package. In addition, the lack of homes that provide care for patients with both physical and mental health needs is also an issue.

The services continue to work with social care with a view to reaching joint solutions, but at present there is limited scope for improvement. The lack of social work capacity has, however, been escalated to senior managers within social care.

The trust agreed at its March board meeting to “request a response from social care” regarding this lack of social care capacity.