Care and support workers are essential to building intermediate
care capacity, a conference on tackling delayed discharges was told
Janice Robinson, health and social care senior adviser at the
King’s Fund, said that although much of the focus had been on the
need for more doctors, nurses and therapists, other workers had to
make up for the shortage of these professional workers.
Care and support workers were already established in the system,
she said. But they were more likely to be in rapid response or
community rehabilitation teams than intermediate care teams.
They worked in various settings, including hospitals, care homes
and people’s own homes, and were employed by the NHS, local
government or the independent sector. But Robinson warned that the
supply of good staff would dry up unless “urgent action” was taken.
She called for the work to be promoted, more training and local
authorities to pay higher rates for services.
And she said there was a “grave danger” that some provision had
been re-badged as intermediate care – for example, in cases where
care homes had spare capacity.
Frank Ursell, chief executive of the Registered Nursing Home
Association, said the private sector providers could help the
public sector to reduce delayed discharges and had a “genuine
desire” to provide the range of care needed.
But he added that the Care Standards Act 2000 required intermediate
care to be provided in designated areas within care homes and, as a
result, homes were not bothering to get involved.
Liz Sargeant, of the Department of Health’s health and social care
change agent team, said the National Care Standards Commission was
investigating this issue.