Fines mooted for councils keeping older mentally ill people in hospital due to lack of social care

The government should consider extending the system by which councils are fined for delayed discharges from hospital to older people with mental health problems, psychiatrists’ leaders said yesterday.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists proposed the measure in a report on raising the status and quality of older people’s mental health services.

The so-called reimbursement system was introduced in 2004 and means councils must pay NHS acute trusts a fine for each day a patient spends in hospital because of a lack of social care provision.

The Department of Health is considering whether it should be extended to mental health and non-acute sectors.

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