Government will pick five or six ‘integration frontrunner’ areas ‘to lead the way in developing and testing radical new approaches’ to speeding up discharge from acute hospitals.
Along with NHS England, ministers today wrote to local NHS and council directors asking for bids to take part by 30 June.
They said there was “a need to take a more fundamental look at [how the] system currently manages the discharge of patients, their post-acute care, and their access to high-quality social care”.
The “discharge integration frontrunner sites” will focus on exploring “new service models, such as the delivery of a more integrated model for intermediate care across existing health and social care”, and “designing and testing new enabling arrangements, which might include new funding models, more integrated workforce models, or the deployment of new technologies”, their letter said.
They said speeding up hospital discharge was “just one” potential benefit from integration and indicated that “future phases” of frontrunners may focus elsewhere.
But delayed discharge has been a major pressure on the system over the past year, particularly last winter, and the letter says: “Delayed discharges are one very visible signal that the health and care system remains fragmented and too often fails to deliver joined-up services that meet people’s needs.”
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Source: HSJ, 21 June 2022