Delayed discharge fines face mounting opposition

Frontline opposition to government plans to fine social services
for delayed discharges is mounting, according to a major survey
commissioned by Community Care and Nursing
magazines, writes Janet

More than two thirds of nurses – including nurses working
in hospitals – and a massive 88 per cent of social care staff
were against the introduction of fines.

Almost 1,700 readers of the two magazines took part in the
survey aimed at gauging attitudes towards joint working.

Nurses and social care staff were united in their belief that
the one thing that could make the biggest improvement to services
for patients and clients was more resources.

Most respondents felt working relationships between the two
groups were good or excellent, mainly thanks to communication and

On the issue of pay, over half of those taking part felt
differentials between the two professions were unfair. However,
each thought the other earned more – although 41 per cent of
nurses and 27 per cent of social care staff said they had no idea
what each other earned.

An overwhelming majority (86 per cent) felt joint training was
worthwhile, although only half said they had actually taken part in
joint courses. Three quarters of the sample felt joint working had
led to improvements in services.

Community Care editor Polly Neate said: “There is
clearly a lot of enthusiasm about joint working and it’s good to
see that our readers support a closer working relationship between
nursing and social care staff.

“The one area where our readers do seem to have a problem is
with the top down micro-management of this government with its
targets, performance indicators and blunt instrument policies like
fining for delayed discharges.”

Nursing Standard editor Jean Gray added: “There is a
clear message from the survey that nurses are against fines,
whether they work in the community or in the hospitals where
delayed discharge may be causing problems.

“What’s important is that patients do not suffer as a result of
any fines imposed, and that they are not labelled ‘bed-blockers’
when in fact they are every bit as disadvantaged by delayed
discharge as those waiting for a bed.”

To download a copy of the survey click

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