Coun­cil­lor voices fears for pa­tients over tar­gets to free up hos­pi­tal beds

Solihull News - - IT TALK -

CON­CERNS have been raised that tar­gets to free up hos­pi­tal beds may mean some pa­tients are be­ing dis­charged too soon.

Soli­hull Coun­cil has been handed more than £ 800,000 by the gov­ern­ment to bol­ster adult so­cial care, with hopes that this will re­duce so- called “bed block­ing” over the win­ter – when NHS ser­vices are es­pe­cially stretched.

How­ever, Coun­cil­lor Jo Fair­burn ( Lib Dem, Ol­ton) had voiced fears about the un­in­tended con­se­quences of hur­ry­ing to get peo­ple out of wards.

She had raised the is­sue dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion this week on the ex­tra fund­ing that the coun­cil has been al­lo­cated by West­min­ster.

“Some­times you won­der if peo­ple are dis­charged too early,” she said.

“I know of two or three cases where within two days they had to be read­mit­ted. Now that’s very ex­pen­sive – the cost of dis­charge and the cost of read­mit­ting.

“The worry is that when peo­ple are given tar­gets, ‘ you’ve got to have this many, or not have peo­ple wait­ing’, peo­ple are just want­ing to hit those tar­gets.”

Of­fi­cers had con­firmed that read­mis­sions were closely mon­i­tored to es­tab­lish the rea­sons some­one has re­turned to a ward and said that the ex­tra money would help im­prove the sup­port fol­low­ing a dis­charge.

The £ 870,356 grant was an­nounced last month and the terms and con­di­tions for its use con­firmed ear­lier this week. Caro­line Pot­ter, fi­nance man­ager for adult so­cial care and health, said the money had been pro­vided to help “man­age pres­sures” be­tween this month and March next year. She said that ap­ply­ing the fund­ing to a spe­cific win­dow of time was “slightly more re­stric­tive” than the coun­cil had been ex­pect­ing. “As you will ap­pre­ci­ate it does take time to get new things in place,” she told the meet­ing. “But we have had some very pos­i­tive con­ver­sa­tions with the mar­ket about what we could do and what we could get in place quickly.” She said that money would be spent not only on get­ting peo­ple out of hos­pi­tal but iden­ti­fy­ing those at risk of be­ing ad­mit­ting and tak­ing step to pre­vent them need­ing to go in. The win­ter months tra­di­tion­ally put ex­tra strain on health and so­cial care, with bad weather, which can in­crease the risk of in­jury, and the flu sea­son among the fac­tors. Coun Karen Grin­sell ( in­set above), cabi­net mem­ber for adult so­cial care and health, had asked how this year was shap­ing up. Of­fi­cers had ad­vised that it was a sim­i­lar pic­ture to pre­vi­ous years, with de­mand in­creas­ing.

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