Bed-blocking money released

Health minister Jacqui Smith has announced the details of how
the £50m delayed discharge fund will be spent this year.

Every local authority has been allocated a share of the fund,
based on expected need, to enable them to start implementing
delayed discharge schemes and expanding older people’s
services more immediately.

She said that progress was already being made in delayed
discharges with the overall number going down from 5,700 in July
2002 to just over 4,000 currently. This fell below the national
target of 4,200 in March. And the number of over-75s delayed in
hospital has halved from March 1997 to 3,500 in December last

Those councils that have achieved the most are those who have
invested money innovatively, said Smith.

“In every area of public services only combining investment with
new ways of working can deliver the improvements that people want
to see,” she added.

Smith also announced the Department of Health is working with
the voluntary sector to set up an overarching agreement to provide
“both a clear vision of the contribution of the sector and a
framework for local activity”.

– For a full list of delayed discharge fund allocations visit
the news section at

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