New measures to tackle delayed transfers of care in the Welsh NHS have been unveiled by Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford.

£2.5 million will support a series of measures to reduce the number of people – the majority are older people – who are unable to leave hospital for social care reasons, freeing up hospital beds for patients who need them.

The most recent statistics show 435 people experienced a delayed transfer of care in December 2015 – the third consecutive month there has been a reduction in the number of delays.

However, more than half (53 per cent) of those people were delayed because of community care assessments not taking place quickly enough, delays in older people selecting a care home, or when a person was waiting for a care home place to become available.

The £2.5 million of Welsh government funding will allow health boards, local authorities, housing, and the third and independent sector to work together to ensure people delayed in hospital receive an appropriate package of care and support, allowing them to leave hospital – either to return home with the right package of support or to a care home of their choice. It will offer regions greater flexibility to support other people and groups to maintain their independence at home and in the community.

Professor Drakeford said, ‘I expect to see action taken immediately to ensure people, especially the frail and the elderly who do not need to be in our acute hospitals are supported to move into more suitable settings, whether that be their own home, in supported or residential accommodation.’