Trusts in more than half English local authorities still do not have an agreed safe place to discharge recovering covid patients to, despite the government asking councils to identify at least one such ‘designated setting’ by the end of October.
The situation is leading to an increase in delayed discharges from hospital just as the service comes under increased pressure from the second covid wave and returning elective and emergency demand.
In a letter last month, the government told local authorities to identify at least one “designated setting” – typically a care home – which hospitals could discharge covid positive patients to when they no longer need secondary care. The designated setting would also take discharged patients who had not received a negative covid test.
The plan is designed to protect residents in other homes, after thousands of care home residents died due to outbreaks of the virus in the spring.
But a well-placed source in the care sector told HSJ less than half of the 151 upper tier councils met the 31 October deadline, due to a range of reasons including insurance costs, fear of high mortality rates and reputational damage to the designated homes.
It means that in many parts of the country, there are a lack of options when it comes to discharging patients, which is causing a rise in delayed discharges.
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Source: HSJ, 5 November 2020
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