Reducing hospital handover delays

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a vision to eliminate hospital handover delays. Hospital handover delays are risky because they delay assessment and treatment for those patients waiting in an ambulance queue at hospitals.

Such delays also compromise safety in our community by reducing the availability of ambulances to respond to emergencies.

NHS England and NHS Improvement is working closely with acute trusts and ambulance services to address and eliminate hospital handover delays.

Related guidance

  • Urgent and emergency care winter incentive – operational measurement guidance: the NHS winter letter published on 27 July introduced the incentive scheme for providers with a Type 1 A&E to achieve even better performance over the second half of the year in return for receiving a share of a £150 million capital fund in 2024/25. This guidance sets out the eligibility criteria for the scheme and how we expect targets to be delivered.
  • Reducing ambulance handover delays: key lines of enquiry: this is an improvement guide setting out key lines of enquiry (KLOEs) for acute organisations to use to review their hospital handover process, and to identify key improvement opportunities.