Trusts welcome new initiatives to ease delayed discharges

20 January 2021

Responding to an announcement by NHS England and NHS Improvement on new policies to improve discharge patient flow from acute settings, the chief executive of NHS Providers Chris Hopson said:

"We welcome today's announcement of initiatives to enable trusts to quickly access much needed additional community and social care capacity, helping them to manage current extreme pressures.

"They will give local NHS and care providers more flexibility to discharge medically fit patients safely, swiftly freeing up hospital beds for those who need them.

Throughout the pandemic, the NHS has been working closely with social care to maintain patient flow throughout the system.

Chris Hopson    Chief Executive

"Throughout the pandemic, the NHS has been working closely with social care to maintain patient flow throughout the system.

"Despite the best efforts of all involved, and for a complex reasons, this hasn't always been achievable.

"For example, difficulties in getting insurance cover has hindered access to designated care home settings for COVID-positive patients who are ready to be discharged from hospital.

"This is to nobody's benefit.

The government's decision to fund insurance premiums in areas where this has been a barrier to rolling out the designated COVID-positive care home scheme is therefore a welcome development.

Chris Hopson    Chief Executive

"The government's decision to fund insurance premiums in areas where this has been a barrier to rolling out the designated COVID-positive care home scheme is therefore a welcome development. It is frustrating however that this has taken government departments and the national bodies so long to resolve, given how long this issue has been a problem.

"We also welcome the introduction of a national framework for community providers to access independent sector care at home capacity. This will play a crucial role in bolstering existing community capacity.

"Facilitating the use of hotel chains to temporarily accommodate patients who are ready to safely leave hospital, but still have care needs, will help some areas create much needed capacity in their hospitals. While this will give a major boost to capacity in some systems, it is also an indicator of the unparalleled situation in which we find ourselves.

"Today's announcement contains urgently needed short-term actions to address the issues contributing to delayed discharges during this incredibly difficult period. In the longer term, it is vital that the government puts social care on a sustainable footing as well as investing in community health services."

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