Discharge plans will cause upheaval

Government proposals to introduce seven-day-a-week discharges of
patients from hospitals may be difficult because it will require a
revolution of working hours, councils have warned.

Guidance issued by the Department of Health, setting out a
10-point plan for speeding up discharge from hospital, recommends
giving nurses the power to make simple discharges and even take
responsibility for some complicated cases.

Plans to establish a system where patients can be moved out of
hospital at the weekend as well as working days are also included
in the document.

Lynn Waight, strategic services manager at Hampshire’s
older person’s team, said: “It’s not a surprise but it
will still be a challenge. At the moment, staff work a five-day
week and there are also capacity issues within the care market,
especially in domiciliary care. There are not enough places but
also people are not at work at the weekend.”

Glenys Jones, chair of the older people’s committee at the
Association of Directors of Social services, said there was not
“sufficient flexibility” in community services to make seven-day
discharge work at the moment.

If 24/7 discharging comes in, it is unclear whether the 72-hour
delayed discharge reimbursement system will apply to weekend

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