Plans to reduce the number of people waiting in hospitals through closer partnership between local authorities and NHS organisations.
In a written ministerial statement Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced (on 3 July 2017) measures to support the NHS and local government in reducing delays for people being discharged from hospital to local social care services.
The measures include:
- local authorities agreeing with local NHS organisations on the contribution they will make to reducing the number of delayed transfers of care in their local areas
- a performance dashboard showing how health and social care partners in every local authority area in England are performing against a number of metrics, including: delayed transfers of care, emergency admissions, length of stay in hospital, the number of people still at home 90 days after being discharged from hospital
- the Integration and Better Care Fund Planning Requirements 2017 to 2019, which set out how the Better Care Fund Planning process will operate
The Health Secretary said:
This government is clear that no-one should stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary: it removes people’s dignity; reduces their quality of life; leads to poorer health and care outcomes for people; and is more expensive for the taxpayer.
In this year’s mandate to NHS England, I set a clear expectation that delayed transfers of care (DToCs) should equate to no more than 3.5% of all hospital beds by September.
Alongside this, the spring 2017 Budget announced an additional £2 billion to councils in England over the next three years to spend on adult social care services.
This funding for local adult social care services will help:
- meet adult social care needs
- reduce pressures on the NHS, by supporting more people to be discharged from hospital when they are ready
- support the local social care provider market
The Department of Health has also asked the Care Quality Commission to commission 12 reviews of local areas to consider how well they are working at the health and social care boundary. A further 8 reviews will be commissioned based on the performance dashboard and informed by local authority returns due in July 2017. These reviews will commence immediately with the majority complete by the end of November 2017.