Health secretary Alan Milburn published the Community Care (Delayed
Discharges) Bill last week, promising for the first time extra
rewards where social services “fulfil their
Under the bill’s proposals, social services departments are to be
fined when an individual who is medically fit to leave hospital has
their discharge delayed because the arrangements for going home or
moving to a care home have not been made.
In a joint statement, the Association of Directors of Social
Services, the Local Government Association and the NHS
Confederation, have warned that the fining system would be “a
retrograde step” if it undermined the trust that exists and led to
the development of adversarial relationships between health and
LGA chairperson Jeremy Beecham said: “What the government does not
recognise is that there are many reasons for the delays and many
solutions to this issue – but fining local councils is not one of
them,” he said.
The associations have called for delayed discharges to be tackled
by an “incentives regime” covering all the local agencies with
joint targets and a shared performance management framework.