Are 24 local authorities responsible for half of delayed discharges?

As recently reported in the Financial Times, the Chancellor on Wednesday said that just 24 local authorities are responsible for over half of all instances of people unable to leave hospital because of a lack of social care services – known as delayed discharges.

The charts below show that while this is correct, it doesn’t tell the whole story and, therefore, doesn't really explain the problems facing social care or the NHS.

These 24 local authorities, while just 15% of the total number of LAs, are mostly large authorities and are home to 42% of the population aged 65 in England.

Looking at delayed transfers of care per head of the population aged over 65, a third of local authorities responsible for half of all delayed transfers of care and the list of local authorities with the great problems is somewhat different.

Funding should be allocated on need – which means that simply targeting the areas with the most delayed discharges without taking into account local populations is not effective. The 24 local authorities mentioned by the Chancellor actually have a lower proportion of pensioners on a low income, suggesting that these areas may have less need, and some already have a low rate of delays taking into account the size of their populations.

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