Delayed discharge fines “unworkable”, councils say

The government’s plans to tackle delayed discharge of
older people have been condemned by the Local Government
Association as “costly, unworkable and based on a flawed analysis
of the real problems”, writes Clare

The government’s consultation document sets out its plans
to import a model of charging from Sweden, which will force
councils to pay for the costs of delays to discharging older people
from hospital when suitable care cannot be found.

It has also expressed its intention to extend the plan to mental
health patients, the LGA says.

In a formal response to the department of health, the LGA says
there are hidden costs in the proposal, not fully scoped in the
consultation document.

The LGA criticises the proposals for the false assumption that
there is a lack of will or commitment from local councils to tackle
the problem of delayed discharges.

It insists that “local councils are committed to overcoming the
misery of delayed discharge, and to delivering the timely services
that older people deserve”.

Sir Jeremy Beecham, LGA chairperson, said: “The government is
wrong to assert that the fault lies with councils’ lack of

“Local councils have been working successfully with health
bodies in their local communities, not only to tackle delays in
discharges, but also to prevent unnecessary admission to hospital
and promote independence for older people.”

Beecham said Sweden has the same level of delayed discharges as
the UK even after implementing the model.

The LGA blames a lack of residential care and patients
exercising choice for also causing delays.

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