Vulnerable patients, including some children, have faced long delays for a suitable bed as organisations argue over whose responsibility it is to fund and deliver their care, HSJ understands.
In a letter outlining winter arrangements, NHS England has warned trust leaders and commissioners against delaying emergency mental health admissions – typically needed when a patient is away from home, and understood to be more common over the Christmas period – while determining which area has which responsibility.
National mental health director Claire Murdoch wrote: “It is not acceptable to delay an emergency mental health admission while determining which area has clinical and financial responsibility for the care of an individual.”
She added such admissions should be arranged “as quickly as possible, and without delay caused by any financial sign-off process”.
It comes as HSJ has been told patients can often end up waiting for several days in emergency departments or in “inappropriate” out of area or acute beds when disputes occur over who is responsible for their care.
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Source: HSJ, 15 December 2022