Delayed discharge fines ‘should not be extended’


Social care leaders have warned the government against extending
the delayed discharge fining system in hospitals to other service
users, writes Derren Hayes in

Glenys Jones, co-chair of the Association of Directors of Social
Services older people’s committee, said that if the
government decided to roll out the reimbursement policy to include
mental health and intermediate care patients there could particular
problems for adults with challenging and multiple needs.

Jones said because people with the most complex needs are often
admitted to hospital via accident and emergency units, their
underlying problems may not be addressed initially. If fines were
to kick in after three days this would make it harder to do.

“Initial diagnosis is often difficult and they tend to pick up
the presenting incident and deal with that rather than take a more
holistic analysis of their needs,” she explained.

Ray Jones, Wiltshire social services director, said it
wasn’t fines – which enable hospitals to charge social
services departments £100 a day per patient when a community
care package has not been organised after 3 days of discharge
notification – that had reduced hospital delays.

“The concept of fining wasn’t what has got us [social
services] there but a combination of performance indicators and
ear-marked funding to invest into the system. I wouldn’t want
to have to have those fining discussions again,” he added.

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