Press release

Statistical press notice: Monthly critical care beds, cancelled urgent operations and delayed transfers of care, England, November 2011

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Monthly critical care beds, cancelled urgent operations and delayed transfers of care data for November 2011 published

The main findings for November 2011 were:

Critical Care Beds

  • There were 3,702 adult critical care beds available and 3,121 occupied giving an occupancy rate of 84.3%. This is the highest occupancy rate since January 2011, but is lower than November 2010, where the figure was 86.1%. Adult critical care bed occupancy tends to be higher in winter months.
  • There were 393 paediatric critical care beds available and 334 occupied, giving an occupancy rate of 85%. This is the highest occupancy rate since December 2010 and is higher than November 2010, where the figure was 80.1%. Paediatric critical care bed occupancy tends to be higher in winter months.
  • There were 1,295 neo-natal critical care beds available and 988 occupied giving an occupancy rate of 76.3%. Occupancy has ranged between 70.4% and 76.4% over the 8 months of this financial year.
  • Table 1 shows Critical Care Bed Occupancy rates since August 2010. Details of critical care data for individual organisations are available on the DH website.

Cancelled Urgent Operations

  • The number of urgent operations cancelled was 419, which compares to 211 in November 2010. It should be noted that part of this increase is due to an improvement in data quality.

Table 2 shows information on urgent operations cancelled from August 2010 to November 2011.
Details of cancelled urgent operations data for individual organisations are available on the DH website.

In addition, data on cancelled elective operations can be found on the DH website.

Delayed Transfers of Care

  • There were 4,215 patients delayed on the last Thursday of the month, of which 2,402 were acute patients. The number of such delays has ranged between 3,953 to 4,305 in this financial year.
  • There were 116,572 total delayed days during the month, of which 64,241 were acute. 61% of these were attributable to the NHS, 32% were attributable to Social care and 7% where both agencies were responsible.
  • The main reason for NHS delays was “patients awaiting further non-acute NHS care”, this accounted for 30% of all NHS delays. The main reason for Social Care delays was “patients awaiting a residential home placement or availability”, this accounted for 26% of all Social Care delays. Where both the NHS and Social Care are attributable, the major reason for delay was “patients awaiting completion of assessment”. The distribution of delays remains similar to previous months.

Table 2 shows information on delayed transfers of care from August 2010 to November 2011. Table 3 shows the number of delayed transfers of care by type of care, reason for delay and responsible organisation for November 2011.
Details of delayed transfers of care data for individual organisations are available on the DH website.

Statistical Notes to Editors

1.    Critical Care data

Data relating to the number of available and occupied critical care beds is a monthly snapshot taken at midnight on the last Thursday of each month and can fluctuate from month to month.

2.    Delayed Transfers of Care data

A delayed transfer of care occurs when a patient is medically fit for discharge from acute or non-acute care and is still occupying a bed. For a more detailed definition please read the guidance on the DH website.

Data on the number of patients with a delayed transfers of care is a monthly snapshot taken at midnight on the last Thursday of each month and can fluctuate from month to month. Data on the number of delayed days is a cumulative figure for the month and therefore, the two are not comparable.

Data on delayed transfers of care is collected from providers of NHS funded care and is split by:
•    Local Authority that is responsible for each patient delayed
•    Agency responsible for delay (NHS, Social Services or both)
•    Type of care that the patient receives (acute or non-acute)
•    Reason for delay
A detailed breakdown of the data can be found on the Department of Health website in CSV format.

3.    Trust and Local Authority level data

Delayed transfers of care data covers NHS patients in English Hospitals, who may or may not reside in England and is published on both a trust and Local Authority basis.

Trust level reflects data at organisation level for those organisations that provide NHS funded care, for example acute Trusts, community providers, mental health trusts and Social Enterprise organisations.

Local Authority data reflects data on a regional population basis, i.e. Councils with Adult Social Services Responsibility (CASSRs) that are responsible for all patients who reside in their region.

4.    Data Quality

Monthly SitReps data has been collected and published since August 2010. Prior to August 2010, data was collected weekly and was un-validated management information.
Delayed transfers of care data published during the early months of the collection from August 2010 to October 2010 should be treated with a degree of caution as a change from a weekly to a monthly data collection led to data quality issues. Since October, there has been a significant improvement in the coverage and accuracy of this data.

Critical care data published until January should be treated with a degree of caution as data on Critical Care beds was published bi-annually in a separate collection until January 2011. Since February 2011, there has been a significant improvement in the coverage and accuracy of this data.

5.    Data Availability

Monthly Sitreps data is published approximately 3 - 4 weeks after the end of the reference period.

6.    Revisions

Revisions to previous month’s data are made in line with the Department of Health’s revisions protocol for performance monitoring data. Future revisions will be made on a six monthly cycle. The revisions protocol can be found here:

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Statistics/Performancedataandstatistics/index.htm

Delayed Transfers of Care data were last revised in October 2011. Critical Care and Cancelled Operations data were last revised in July 2011.

7.    Feedback Welcomed

We welcome feedback on the content and presentation of Critical Care, Cancelled Operations and Delayed Transfers of Care statistics within this Statistical Press Notice and those published on the DH website. Please email any comments on this, or any other issues regarding the SitReps data and statistics, to: unify2@dh.gsi.gov.uk

Additional Information

For press enquiries, please contact the DH press office on 020 7210 5221.

The Government Statistical Service (GSS) statistician responsible for producing these data is:

Mark Svenson
Knowledge and Intelligence
Department of Health
Room 4E63, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7UE
For data queries, email: unify2@dh.gsi.gov.uk