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Councils to work with NHS to tackle delayed hospital discharges, says Jeremy Hunt

Measures to tackle delayed discharge in hospitals will see councils working more closely with the NHS, Jeremy Hunt has said.

Measures to tackle delayed discharge in hospitals will see councils working more closely with the NHS, Jeremy Hunt has said.

The health secretary said the plans would ensure local authorities and NHS organisations 'play their part' in tackling delayed discharges, often due to the lack of social care provision which would enable a patient to return to their home.

The plans include a 'performance dashboard' showing how health and social care partners are performing in every council area in England.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will carry out reviews in 12 areas to see how health and social care are linking up.

The plan is backed by some of the 2 billion announced in the March budget, but the NHS Providers umbrella group said more cash was needed.

Mr Hunt said: 'No one should stay in hospital longer than

Measures to tackle delayed discharge in hospitals will see councils working more closely with the NHS, Jeremy Hunt has said.


Picture: iStock

The health secretary said the plans would ensure local authorities and NHS organisations 'play their part' in tackling delayed discharges, often due to the lack of social care provision which would enable a patient to return to their home.

The plans include a 'performance dashboard' showing how health and social care partners are performing in every council area in England.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will carry out reviews in 12 areas to see how health and social care are linking up.

The plan is backed by some of the £2 billion announced in the March budget, but the NHS Providers umbrella group said more cash was needed.

Mr Hunt said: 'No one should stay in hospital longer than necessary – it undermines people's dignity and reduces their quality of life, while putting pressure on our hospitals and wasting taxpayers' money.

'These new measures will ensure local authorities and local NHS partners play their part in tackling this issue to improve community transfers and ensure every patient has a health and care system that works for them.'

Delays in growth

Since April 2014, the number of people delayed in a hospital bed has grown by 52%.

Although there has been a recent improvement, with a record decrease in month-on-month delayed discharges in April, and 740 more hospital beds available in April compared with February, the Department of Health acknowledged there was more to do before the onset of winter when demand is likely to be highest.

Under the plans, councils will agree their contributions to cutting delayed discharges with the NHS as a condition for receiving money from the Better Care Fund.

CQC chief executive David Behan said the body's reviews would examine the wide variation in how health and social care systems work together across England.

He said: 'Our intention is that the review findings will highlight what is working well and where there are opportunities for improving how the system works, enabling the sharing of good practice and identifying where additional support is needed to secure better outcomes for people using services.'

Intended reach

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said his organisation had warned that additional money promised for social care was not flowing to where it was needed as well as intended.

He welcomed the new targets for councils and the CQC reviews, but added: 'Senior health service leaders have about a month in which to make a decision on whether there is sufficient capacity in the NHS to deal with next winter's risks, and if not, to do something about it.

'We have called for a £350 million investment now to cope with pressures in the coming winter.'


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