Councillors call for better funded services to cut hospital admissions

to reduce hospital admissions and enable timely discharge from hospital will
only be viable if local authority services are "adequately and robustly
resourced," the Local Government Association has said.

In its written evidence to the House of
Commons health select committee inquiry into delayed discharges, the LGA said
that supporting people in the community requires significant funding.

"The funding shortage that faces
personal social services is not caused by the need to support people for the
few weeks after they leave hospital, but by the need to fund the preventive
services that keep people from needing hospital in the first place,"
states the evidence.

Local housing authorities and housing
associations have an important role to play in helping to prevent inappropriate
hospital admissions, says the LGA. And housing staff have a key role in
assisting with appropriate and timely discharge from hospital, and in
organising adaptations that help people to remain in their own homes.

In addition, the underlying reasons for the
growing shortage of personal social services staff must be addressed if
authorities are to be able to deliver the services that older people need to
lead independent lives, said the LGA.

In its written evidence, the Association of
Directors of Social Services told the committee that looking at delayed
discharge in isolation was a mistake, and that the pressures seen in this part
of the acute health system are part of the pressures across related areas, with
solutions only possible from a "whole system approach".

The ADSS made a number of recommendations. It
suggested that the "proper fit" between health funding and local
authority funding for social care be reconsidered urgently as a matter of
financial planning.

"There is no equivalent to the NHS Plan
in the social care environment that would enable the comprehensive spending
review to create a funding environment to support joint plans," it states.

In addition, consideration should be given to
establishing an agreed programme management system for delayed discharge, to be
established across the whole system involved in providing services for older
people, states the evidence. And community-based rehabilitation workers should
be established to work with social services, specialist home care workers and
primary care teams to support care-at-home services.

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