Social work faces NHS `stock-take`

    An urgent `stocktaking` of delayed discharges in Scotland has
    been ordered by Susan Deacon, health minister, in spite of the
    latest statistical report showing a steady decrease.

    Overall, the April 2001 census of patients ready for discharge
    shows the number of patients waiting to be discharged has fallen by
    4.5 per cent compared with the previous year. Deacon is pleased
    with the progress, attributing the improvement to heavy government
    investment and innovative services such as rapid response
    teams.

    Deacon said: “Powerful new alliances between the NHS and local
    authorities have been forged – both locally and
    nationally.”

    In spite of the progress, Deacon remains unconvinced that more
    cannot be achieved. She said: “That is why I have now asked Trevor
    Jones, chief executive of NHS Scotland, to take personal charge of
    an urgent stock-take of the work done to date, and to bring forward
    recommendations directly to me by the end of the summer on what
    more needs to be done nationally and locally to accelerate
    progress.”

    Jones will review the situation in local authority social work
    departments as well as the NHS. His stock-take will include
    listening to views from the “coal face”.

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