Unfair penalties for delayed discharges

A leading doctor has criticised the government
for threatening to penalise local authorities for delayed
discharges from hospitals.

Dr Ian
Bogle, chairman of council at the British Medical Association, said
it would be unfair to penalise social care for bed-blocking while
rewarding the NHS for its progress on reducing delayed

comments followed the post-budget announcement by health secretary
Alan Milburn that councils would be expected to reimburse hospitals
in cases where patients fit for release could not then be

Following consultation, the
penalties could be introduced next summer at a reported rate of
around £150 for each delayed discharge per day.

this year’s budget, social services were promised a 6 per cent
annual increase in resources between 2003 and 2006.

said: “If the government is hell bent upon these penalties,
however, then we are quite certain that the investment must predate
any penaltiesÉ I do not want to see that part of social
service work underfunded because of an initiative about


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