POOR performance in 'transfer of care' in the region will be addressed as a matter of urgency, Cumbria County Council (CCC) have said.

Figures published by the NHS show a marked increase in the number of days people are kept in hospital after they are ready for discharge because arrangements for their care on leaving hospital haven’t been made.

The issue was raised by a county councillor who said the situation was causing unnecessary distress for NHS patients and severely increasing 'bed-blocking' problems.

And the councillor, who did not wish to be named, said in his view the statistics showed services in the region are performing badly in comparison to other similar sized counties.

"Two years ago, CCC was rated as the worst in the country for bed blocking and its performance is not improving," said the councillor.

The figures published by the NHS for September, October and November show a marked increase in the total days lost through 'delayed transfer of care' in Cumbria.

The total for the county were 3,307 in September, 4,157 in October and 3,754 in November.

In comparison, the figures for North Yorkshire in the same three months were 1,832, 2,132 and 1,501 respectively, while for Northumberland they were 386, 356 and 327.

Such delays most commonly result from the time taken to find places for discharged patients in residential or nursing homes or providing care in their own home.

The councillor claimed discharge teams at the three hospitals serving the South Lakeland area had privately expressed exasperation at the situation, especially when the cases involved cancer patients.

Two years ago CCC was rated as the worst in the country for bed blocking and the organisation is now receiving support from NHS Improvement and the Local Government Association in its efforts to tackle the problem.

CCC is responsible for adult care under associated body Cumbria Care, and a CCC spokesperson said efforts were being made to tackle the issue.

"Cumbria County Council recognises the enormous challenge in Cumbria to reduce the number of delayed transfers of care from hospital settings," said a CCC spokesperson.

"The council is committed to working in partnership with our colleagues in the NHS to support and improve discharge arrangements for Cumbrian residents.

"Working with the acute trusts, GPs, care providers and the third sector a number of robust initiatives are delivering improvements across all services, including an ongoing recruitment drive to increase capacity across the county in the provision of Domiciliary Care and Re-ablement.

"Strategic partners across the health and care system recognise the improvements that have been achieved in the last two years and continue to work closely together to identify further improvements and develop plans for the future that meet the needs of our customers."