Delayed discharge fines could be extended

The system of fining councils for the delayed discharge of older
people from hospital could be applied to mental health and
community settings, the government has said, writes
Natasha Salari.

A response from the Treasury to a report from the public
accounts committee (PAC), which was published in September, said
that there has been a reduction in the number and length of delays
in hospitals over the past two years.

But in answer to criticisms about delays occurring in the
discharge of patients in community and mental health settings, the
latest report also advises that “there is nothing to prevent
assessment and discharge notifications for acute care patients also
being extended to cover other care settings”.

It continues: “Delays in other settings will also benefit
from improved discharge co-ordination, leading to improved
integration between services.”

In October new legislation came into effect in a shadow form to
make hospitals notify social services departments of patients who
may need social care on discharge.  From 5 January, social services
departments will be charged £100 a day (or £120 in London
and the south east) if they fail to arrange care packages for
patients assessed as needing one within two days of

But earlier this year parliament voted to exclude mental health
from the scope of the legislation.

Treasury minute on the 33rd, 37th and 41st reports from the
Committee of Public Accounts 2002-2003

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