£25m for councils to tackle delayed discharges is ‘tribute to work of social workers’, says Adass chief

But social care leaders warn that government funding is insufficient and may reward areas with poor records on tackling hospital pressures

Picture credit: REX/Jeff Blackler

The government will provide £25m in emergency aid to councils to help them tackle delayed discharges and reduce pressures on hospitals over the winter.

The money will go to 65 councils in areas most afflicted by delayed discharges, will be distributed this week and must be spent by the end of March, The Guardian has reported. The move was “a recognition of the vital role social services have to play in the care of vulnerable people” and a “tribute to social workers and care staff who work so hard”, said Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president David Pearson.

Rise in delayed discharge numbers

It also highlights concerns that social care cuts are leading to increases in delayed discharges from hospital, putting further pressure on hospitals facing rising demand from accident and emergency.

The number of days in which a person medically fit for discharge from hospital has been delayed in doing so has risen by 10% from January-November 2013 to January-November 2014, show NHS England figures. There has been a 6% rise in the numbers of delayed days attributable to social care, for example because of placements in care homes or home-based packages of care were not available. However, the number of delayed days attributable to social care in November 2014 – 37,004 – was 24% higher than the equivalent figure in November 2013.

Sector concerns

Pearson said the £25m would not be sufficient either to plug gaps in council adult care budgets or solve problems in A&E. Concerns were also voiced, by King’s Fund assistant director of policy Richard Humphries that the money may make matters worse by rewarding areas that had failed to manage delayed discharges.

More from Community Care

5 Responses to £25m for councils to tackle delayed discharges is ‘tribute to work of social workers’, says Adass chief

  1. Gerald January 21, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    There are thousands of vacancies in Care Homes,I am sure Social Services why are these not been filled,that is the question , this money is not beeing spent wisely ,check out the cost of keeping a person in Hospital why is this happening ? I am sure Social Services have the solution , why are they not implementing it ?

    • Sue Griffiths January 22, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

      I think one of the major problems for social workers in adult care is the amount of time we now spend completing paperwork on unfit for purpose computer programs. When I started out in social work I spent at least 70% of my time out visiting clients. In my current post I spend at least 70% of my time string at computer screens. I am repeatedly told this is the way things are now – WHY!!!

  2. Ruth Cartwright January 21, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    Hi, Gerald. Problem is money for care home places needs to come from the individual (they are means tested) or the Social Services. A care home can cost £700-£1,000 a week. Social Services budgets are not the same as NHS budgets and have been cut by the government as it reduces funding for all local Councils. Also care homes are not the right destination for many people who needs care in their own homes – this also costs money, and carers in the right area can be hard to find. So I am afraid Social Services do not have the solution. One answer is for the NHS to pass money to Social Services to move people out of hospital.

  3. George Coxon January 21, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

    I’m an ex nhs senior commissioner of 8yrs, an nhs advocate, current chair of the mental health nurse association and devon based care home owner as well as lead on a provider led quality kite mark for residential care with circa 50 plus residential care home members – we have energy, credibility, capability and capacity to offer solutions to the existing pressures on stretched nhs services. Integration of nhs and social care must be the answer. Keeping and getting older old people out of hospital particularly those with dementia is the absolute imperative. Sadly too much negative focus on even the better 24/7 care means care homes are seen as ‘last resort’ options. Our residents live well, safely in positive homes having fun and for them and their families have had their worries taken away due to capable kind and good humoured staff. Follow our examples via twitter @coxongeorge if you wish. Better still talk to us, join us and share thoughts and actions on addressing the challenge without being overly obsessed with money !!!

    • kendall January 22, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

      Social services generally have a very negative view of ALL private sector care homes, which is of course 95% of them nowadays.
      They seem to pleasure themselves driving care homes into the ground financially while demanding better standards. This means they can have loads of safeguarding personnel, more jobs for the boys, taking more money away from frontline services. The public sector is full of some very strange unrealistic people with no commercial understanding, who enjoy wielding sticks.
      Until they are removed from the equation this problem will not be resolved.
      Through integration, funding control should be given to NHS and totally removed from local authorities. At least the NHS don’t have such a warped bias against private sector care homes. As for providing proper home care for those in need, forget it……they just could never afford it.