The NHS has announced £1.4m will be made available for councils and their partners in the health sector to tackle the problem of delayed discharges.
There was an estimated £820m gross cost to the NHS last year due to approximately 2.7 million older patients in hospital who no longer required acute treatment. The delay in moving them into more suitable care led to 1.15 million hospital bed days lost.
According to councils and their partners in the NHS, one of the reasons for these delays is that the current, non-digital systems in place to handle assessment, discharge and withdrawal notices (ADW) are insufficient for the job.
NHS Digital says the new funds will help local authorities and their partners develop more integrated digital ADWs. This should help cut down the number of delayed discharges.
‘Local authorities and their NHS partners have a huge challenge ahead of them in tackling the steadily worsening problems caused by delayed transfers of care, so that patients can be supported back into their own homes and regain their independence as quickly as possible,’ said Tom Denwood, director of Data and Integration at NHS Digital.
‘These issues impact on the NHS, the patients and their carers, especially during the winter months when demand on public health services increases.
‘We know that technology has the potential to speed up the discharge process by integrating the health and social care IT systems, and we are here to support both local government and the wider NHS to help make this happen.’