£200m for NHS to buy short-term care placements to speed up discharge

    Money designed to tackle 13,000 patients being stuck in hospital but fit to leave and is in addition to existing £500m discharge fund

    Row of ambulances outside emergency department
    Photo: William/Adobe Stock

    The government will give the NHS an extra £200m to buy short-term care placements to help relieve the pressures on its beleaguered emergency care system.

    Integrated care boards (ICBs) will be able to use the money to buy beds in care homes or other settings for up to four weeks in order to speed up hospital discharges, freeing up beds to admit people stuck in accident and emergency departments.

    Currently, almost 13,000 people are in hospital who are medically fit for discharge – up almost 30% on this time last year – because of a lack ongoing health services, housing issues or insufficient social care provision. The latter has been linked to the sector’s increasing workforce shortages, with vacancies having risen by 52% in 2021-22.

    The new money is in addition to the £500m adult social care discharge fund, which is designed to both speed up hospital discharge and bolster the social care workforce over the winter. Forty per cent of this money was provided to councils and ICBs last month, with a second tranche coming at the end of this month.

    Barclay – NHS under ‘enormous pressures’

    Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay

    Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay (credit: HM Government)

    Unveiling the latest funding package, health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said: “The NHS is under enormous pressure from Covid and flu, and on top of tackling the backlog caused by the pandemic, Strep A and upcoming strikes, this winter poses an extreme challenge.

    “I am taking urgent action to reduce pressure on the health service, including investing an additional £200m to enable the NHS to immediately buy up beds in the community to safely discharge thousands of patients from hospital and free up hospital capacity, on top of the £500m we’ve already invested to tackle this issue.”

    He also said six areas would also be trialling new solutions to reducing discharge delays, which could be rolled out if successful. This will include investing in home care in Warwickshire, rehabilitation and reablement in Leeds and additional support for people with dementia in Greater Manchester.


    9 Responses to £200m for NHS to buy short-term care placements to speed up discharge

    1. Chris January 9, 2023 at 12:59 pm #

      Money is useless without the carers or care home places to safely discharge to. I suspect it will be used like before to pay a limited sum to family to care for family members, and community teams to deal with the mess when the money runs out and family members work out there will not be another £1200 coming soon.

      Where is the workforce plan and capacity plan for care homes? We have lost nearly 90 beds in our county in last 3 months due to care home closures!!

      • Sarah Blackman January 9, 2023 at 4:42 pm #

        So true, in my county relatives took the money then phoned Adult Social Care the next day to say they weren’t providing the care & over to us. None of the monies given out every re-cooperated.
        No care home vacancies or care services for those in the community let alone those in hospital. Total lack of community-staff and social workers leaving in droves. Community staff can earn more working in a supermarket, no travel time given, who in their right mind would want to be a community cater these days. It is a career not a job and people leave very quickly when they see the work and hours involved.
        Numerous Safeguardings from care hotels who have sent people home after allocated time, they are only in it for the money.
        Time to stop Adult services being the scapegoat for NHS & Government. Have always been well down the line for Government monies. Having worked in a hospital discharge team NHS trust do not give 2 hoots, they just want people out. They are human beings not ‘bed blockers’. Throwing more money at NHS does not solve decades of neglect from Government and there will be many more serious case reviews due to deaths in the community from lack of care services. Pray I’m not the social worker standing in the coroners court explaining this

    2. Jackie Mahoney January 9, 2023 at 2:27 pm #

      I would agree easy sticking plaster solutions which LA will need to unpic and sort out!!

      • Fi January 9, 2023 at 4:46 pm #

        As per the norm Government & NHS so short sighted after decades of brutal cut to adult community services. Can not give what’s not there i.e care placements or care packages.

    3. Janet January 9, 2023 at 2:37 pm #

      Yes agree with the above – this will just move the bottleneck somewhere else – doesn’t address the problem with social care shortages at all

    4. Tilly Baker January 9, 2023 at 4:58 pm #

      NHS are just block purchasing expensive beds in care homes, this cost then has to be passed to the individual when free care comes to an end and there are no spaces in less expensive beds as the homes being utilised do not accept LA rates…fact! LA Held over a barrel by greedy care home owners looking profit not to help the system. The government needs to wake up and taste the coffee the LAs been drinking for the last 5 years…. bring back in house care services and learn from mistakes of the past.

    5. Chris Sterry January 9, 2023 at 5:34 pm #

      So little and so too late for before problems can be sorted everyone needs to understand what all the problems are and this Government and many, if not all preceeding them, have not only failed to do, but completely ignored whst has and is occurring in Social Care. This is not just care homes but the whole of social care for both adults and children.

      For the staffing problems within all aspects of social care far exceeds those within the NHS, even though themselves are extremely immense.

      Rates of pay for social care workers are so dire, but that is not all for there are major issues with travel expenses, unsocial hours pay, holiday pay and reconising working Bank Holidays, proper sick pay arrangements and many other aspects. So the funding for all needs to be greatly improved for the Natrional Living Wage is no way near a proper Living Wage and it is taxable which it should not be.

      Having austerity cuts to Local Authorities (LAs) since 2010 and still around causing LAs to have insufficient funding to fund social care, which although they rarely employ any care workers, except for some possible short term emergency care, to both private care providers and also families/ persons in need of care funding their own care workers(Personal Assistants) through Direct Payments from LAs or Personal Health Budgets through Health (Continuing Health Care, CHC). The funding is so dire and the resulting per hour pay rates that very few are wishing to enter the Care profession and with this Governments immigration Policies not many coming from outside of the UK.

      Without sufficient urgent funding for social care in £billions not £millions then there is no way out for the NHS as both social care and the NHS needs each other.

      It will be said there is no money, well in reality there has to be for the total survival of social care and the NHS.

      Also sufficient funding needs to be found to fund all increased rates of pay for every worker in the NHS, not just Nurses and Junior Doctors, but for every worker for they are all part of the same team and one can’t exist without the others.

      This Government and all future Governments need to be in the real world and allow funding for everyone to live a reasonable life, not just the top 5% or is it the top 1% of the UK population.

      Have real ‘Leveling Up’ or should it be ‘Leveling Down’ for these top percentages.

    6. Sue sue January 9, 2023 at 7:14 pm #

      What we need is resources to use once they are discharged. Therapy input for all the Discharge beds. We need staff to assess to move them on successfully. We need the hospital to stop discharging these patients without due care and attention, some of these are discharged with the simplist of things, medications, equipment, placed out of Borough where families struggle to visit. We need care homes who actually assess their needs too and not just leave these patients in bed and not promote independence. There’s a multitude of issues. Throwing money from the top downwards is just not helpful, these are our loved ones and the countries elderly. They deserve better.they are not just numbers on the NHS BED BLOCKING LIST.

    7. Maddie January 11, 2023 at 2:11 pm #

      Having worked in two different hospital social work teams – in different parts of the country, it is sad to see how it is the people who are stuck in the beds are treated with little regard, but equally, so are social care workers.

      We are living in an age where striking is considered to be the way to get what we want, so perhaps care workers need to strike for better pay – as they have also worked through the pandemic, but are still treated as the poor relation to health colleagues. I have worked in the public sector for 19 years and have seen how many times we have not had a wage increase, unlike our health colleagues.

      We all know that Adult social care is in crisis, yet despite promises for increased funding, it is always this which seems to take the hit when local authorities need to save money on their budgets. Perhaps those working in strategic roles need to spend some time on the front line with staff, to understand how bad things really are. Those of us working in hospitals trying to facilitate discharges are equally frustrated that we cannot get people home in a timely fashion, however, we can only work with the resources we have to hand. When the ICB pay for beds in care homes, that takes places away for us to be able to place in.

      Instead of just throwing money at the problem, there needs to be a working party set up, to see what the issues are at every level of the system and across the country. Each area should have a working party of their own – made up of staff from all areas of adult social care and they should be able to meet with this working party to talk about the issues that affect them most. Rather than presuming that every area has the same problems.