Local authorities have partnered with the NHS to provide a new digital portal which shows how many vacancies there are in local care homes.
The portal will help save health and social care staff time when checking availability, which will mean patients can be discharged quicker.
In 2018, around a quarter of a million hospital bed days in England were taken up by people who were medically fit enough to be discharged, but who faced delays while staff searched for an appropriate care home.
The digital portal – known as the Capacity Tracker – is accessible on any device, and takes care homes just 30 seconds to upload details of their available beds.
Over 6,250 care homes have already signed up to the system, piloted in the North, Devon and Berkshire last year.
‘One of the central ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan is to better support people to age well, and that means joining up different services locally to better meet people’s needs,’ said Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England.
‘By using this technology to work together more closely, hospitals, local authorities and care homes can ensure that people get the right care in the right place at the right time, and aren’t left waiting in hospital unnecessarily.
‘Working with our local government, hospitals and community services as well as patients and their families has been essential to developing this new approach and will be key to rolling it out everywhere.’