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Sir Julian Hartley

Chief Executive
NHS Providers

There is no doubt that the health and care system is under significant pressure. This is being felt in almost every service across mental health, community, hospital and ambulance provision, and challenges around discharging medically fit patients from hospital are reflective of that.

However, there is cause for optimism. In January, NHS England selected six systems to become discharge frontrunner sites to test out new and innovative approaches to discharging patients who were well enough to go home from hospital with the right support. While the factors contributing to delayed discharges are complex, and solutions can take time, the frontrunners are already making important progress, and delivering benefits for patients, staff and the wider health and care system they operate within.

This work has been largely driven by local leaders, who are working to support patients to leave hospital in a safe and timely way, often building on existing programmes. In under a year, different frontrunner sites have set up dementia hubs, developed new offers for intermediate care recovery services, or developed data management to monitor patient flow. It is important that we recognise and learn from their work.

I am therefore delighted to share this case study briefing based on interviews with programme leaders from four of the discharge frontrunner sites. I hope that sharing these examples will support the important work taking place elsewhere, and inspire others to explore innovative new approaches to tackle these issues.

As part of our work at NHS Providers, we will continue to highlight the vital role of trusts in driving collaboration to address system wide challenges.