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Discharge policy reviewed as NHSE warns ‘capacity may decrease’

Two national reviews are taking place into hospital discharge policy, it has emerged, amid major changes to funding and legislation.

One review, led by the Department of Health and Social Care, is developing discharge policy for once the Health and Care Bill comes into force; and a second is reviewing the “clinical criteria to reside”.

Delayed discharge has been a major problem in the acute and emergency care system this winter, with the number of long-staying patients significantly up on previous years. It has been blamed for long patient waits for ambulances, to get into emergency departments, and to be admitted; and for interrupting elective care recovery. 

An NHSE letter confirmed that the government’s national “discharge taskforce” was developing “best practice in improving discharge processes and addressing barriers to timely discharge”, in preparation for the new system. 

It went on: “This includes improving hospital processes to support discharge; minimising delays in the transfer of care from an acute hospital on to follow-up care services; minimising long lengths of stay in rehabilitation at home or in bedded care and ensuring social care services are available at the right time for people with ongoing care requirements. Further resources and support will be shared as learning from these systems becomes clear.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 28 March 2022


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