Directors and local authorities reject new delayed discharges plan

The Association of Directors of Social Services, the Local
Government Association and the NHS Confederation have come together
to express their concerns over the new Community Care (Delayed
Discharges) Bill, writes Katie

Under the proposals, social services are to be fined when an
individual who is ready to leave hospital has their discharge
delayed. But last week health secretary Alan Milburn also said that
where social services “fulfil their responsibilities” they would be
given extra rewards.

The ADSS, LGA and NHS Confederation claimed that good progress
has been made in developing partnerships between health and local
government. They said that it would be “a retrograde step” if the
proposals undermined this trust, and led to the development of
adversarial relationships rather than co-operation between health
and social services.

The associations are also concerned about the implementation
timescale. They suggested that the government’s plan to
introduce the measures within six months could cause “significant
practical difficulties on the ground” explaining that when the
model was introduced in Sweden it was phased in over two years.

Jeremy Beecham, chairperson of the Local Government Association,
said the government needs to recognise that charging councils for
delayed discharges risks undermining the level of care provided to
older people.

“What the government does not recognise is that there are many
reasons for the delays and many solutions to this issue – but
fining local councils is not one of them,” he said.

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