The biggest single cause of bed-blocking is delays in providing
further NHS care, according to the latest government figures,
writes Mithran Samuel.
However, almost one-third of cases originated exclusively in the
social care system, through delays in providing residential care
placements or home care packages.
In the week ending 7 August, 2,413 people were kept in acute
beds longer than they should have done, with 467 delayed because
further NHS services, such as intermediate care, were
However, given intermediate care is typically commissioned
jointly by primary care trusts and councils, such delays cannot be
attributed solely to the NHS.
The next most common reason, with 435 delays, was patient
choice, for instance if a desired package of care was not
available, followed by hold-ups in completing assessments, with
Of the rest, 701 could be attributed to social services, 518
through delays in providing residential care and 183 in providing