Government told to apologise for delayed discharge fines


Local authorities have demanded an apology from the government for
imposing fines for delayed discharge problems, writes
David Callaghan.

Alison King, who is the Local Government Association’s social
services and health chairperson, said the plan was a “whopping

Councils will be fined if an older person is ready for discharge
from hospital, and there is no residential, intermediate, or home
care support available for them.

There are also proposals to fine hospitals if an older person is
readmitted to hospital soon after being discharged.

She told delegates at the National Social Services Conference in
Cardiff: “The sooner the government owns up to this as a whopping
mistake the better for all of us.

“And what a good example such an apology would set for a service
that is constantly being reminded of how important it is to own up
and say sorry when mistakes are made,” she said.

King, who is leader of Norfolk council, said it was a
“spectacular own goal” to take much needed resources in the form of

“We are all hard pressed to ensure sufficient residential and
community services now – taking more money out of the system, or
blaming one part of the system will hardly help,” she said.

She said social services were lagging far behind the health
sector in resources and were set to spend £1 billion above the
standard spending assessment.

“The demands on us need to be matched by resourcing,” she told
the conference.

King said the LGA is working closely with the Association of
Directors of Social Services and the NHS Confederation to develop a
‘whole systems approach’ as an alternative to fines.

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