Social care staff unite with nurses in opposing delayed discharge fines

Front-line opposition to government plans to fine social services
for delayed discharges is mounting, according to a major survey
commissioned by Community Care and Nursing

More than two-thirds of nurses – including those working in
hospitals – and 88 per cent of social care staff were against the

Nearly 1,700 readers of the two magazines took part in the survey
on attitudes towards joint working.

Nurses and social care staff agreed that the one thing that could
make the biggest improvement to services was more resources.

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

On pay, more than half of those taking part felt differentials
between the two professions were unfair. 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

Eighty-six per cent felt joint training was worthwhile, although
only half had taken part in joint courses. Three-quarters 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 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
they are every bit as disadvantaged by delayed discharge as those
waiting for a bed.”

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