Older people tsar refuses to extend delayed discharge fines

Older people tsar Ian Philp has hit back at claims that delayed
discharge fines are resulting in older people with mental health
needs languishing in acute mental health wards, writes
Derren Hayes

Philp said social services were not “neglecting” older
people in acute mental health wards while other programmes were
identifying the onset of mental health problems at an earlier

The comments follow concerns raised by South Essex Partnership NHS
Trust chief executive Patrick Geoghegan, that social services were
prioritising the swift discharge of patients from acute hospital
wards over others because they are the only ones covered by the
fines system. Geoghegan wants fines to cover acute mental health
wards too.

However, Philp said: “You have to prioritise to move a
service forward, but it doesn’t mean that nothing is taking
place elsewhere. We could have been criticised for spreading the
model too widely.”

Rowena Daw, head of policy development at mental health charity
Mind, said she opposed the introduction of fines to mental health
hospitals. “People are particularly vulnerable in the first
seven days after leaving hospital and could be put at considerable
risk by being bundled into sub-standard care simply because of the
threat of a fine,” she added.

The latest figures from the Department of Health shows the number
of delayed discharges fell by 325 in the first three months of
fines changing hands. In December there were 3,220 delays, compared
to 2,895 at the end of March.

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