Social care workers reduce delayed discharges

LGA aplaudes councils for freeing up half a million hospital bed days

Published on 14th October 2019

Half a million bed days have been saved as a result of adult social care workers ensuring that people are fit to leave hospital and have follow on support in place safely and on time.

New analysis by the Local Government Association shows that over the past two years, vital adult social care services have supported people back to their homes and loved ones.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “No council wants to see someone stay in hospital for a day longer than necessary.

“Thanks to the hard work of councils’ social care teams, the NHS has seen delayed transfers of care attributable to social care fall dramatically by more than half a million.

This means more people living independently, much-needed beds freed up for those who urgently need them and pressure reduced on the NHS," he added.

According to the LGA, there was a reduction of 513,773 in delayed days attributable to social care over the period between July 2017 to June 2019, which meant essential beds were freed up and ensured that people were not stuck on wards for longer than necessary.

The LGA estimates this has also saved the NHS an estimated £177 million.
There was also a 40 per cent fall in the average number of people delayed per day over two years, from June 2017 compared to July 2019, while the NHS has reduced its own delayed days by 17 per cent over the same period.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, said this significant achievement is due to the hard work and dedication of adult social care staff and should serve as an incentive for the government to use the upcoming Queen’s Speech to publish its proposals for the long-term future of social care.

The government provided an additional £2 billion for care services at the Spring Budget in 2017 through the ‘improved Better Care Fund’ which was designed to help meet adult social care needs, ensure the local care provider market was supported. It was also accompanied by targets placed on councils to reduce delayed transfers of care attributed to social care to help tackle pressures on the NHS.

The commitment by the government in the recent Spending Round to continue the iBCF next year, alongside an extra £1 billion for children’s and adult social care services plus the option to again levy an adult social care council tax precept, will help councils meet some of the rising cost and demand pressures they face in 2020/21, the Association said.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, added: “This is clear evidence of the human value of investing in the social care services which support millions of people every day and the vital role it can play in alleviating pressure on the health service.

“People are living longer, which is to be celebrated, but often with more complex and multiple needs.

“Extra funding next year will help but pressures will continue to rise until a long-term, sustainable funding solution for adult social care is found that allows councils to focus equally on preventing people going to hospital in the first place," he concluded.


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