Health Minister Jacqui Smith announced the latest distribution
of Whitehall grants to tackle delayed discharge problems in
hospitals, writes Bill Jacobs.
All 150 English local authorities providing social services are
involved in the £300 million drive – 55 getting the highest
level of help and 95 a lesser cash sum. The first slice of the
money – £100 million – has already been spent and helped cut
delayed discharges by 10 per cent since September last year. Now
the remaining £200 million has been allocated for
It is used to provide intermediate care in residential and
nursing homes or intensive care at home.
Announcing the cash allocations, Smith said: “Working with their
local NHS partners, most councils are well on track to deliver the
national target of freeing up more than an extra 1,000 beds in NHS
hospitals by March 2002.
“The length of time patients are delayed, waiting in a hospital
bed for their discharge to be arranged, is also decreasing. This is
good news for the patient and their family and allows the NHS to
treat more patients,” she said.
Smith said: “As part of the initiative, councils are building
stronger partnerships with the NHS and the independent sector in
order to establish longer term plans. This will mean that this is
not a short term funding fix, but part of changing the way services
are delivered, so that the care sector is stabilised and reductions
in delay are long term and sustainable. This will ensure that we
are on target to meet our commitment to end widespread
‘bed-blocking’ by 2004.”