Funding announced to tackle hospital discharge waits

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 12:42 on 22 January 2015.
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Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary For Health, Wellbeing And Sport.
THE Scottish Government has announced a £12.55million funding boost for NHS Lanarkshire – which is hoped will help reduce the number of people waiting to leave hospital.

Health Secretary Shona Robison announced on Tuesday (20 January) that an extra £100milllon will be invested into the Scottish NHS over the next three years to help cut the number of people waiting to be discharged from hospital.

Announcing the funding, Ms Robison said: “Tackling delayed discharge is an absolute key priority for this government and today’s announcement of £100 million over the next three years is crucial to this effort.”

The funding will be used to support health boards and local authorities deliver good quality care and support for people at home or in a homely setting, with the aim being to cut back discharge delays and preventing admissions to hospital and attendances at A&E –which is hoped will reduce pressure across the NHS.

Reducing the number of people waiting to be discharged from hospital is a key priority of the Scottish Government while this funding forms part of its wider commitment to integrating health and social care services.

“Reducing delayed discharge not only helps individual patients, who benefit from getting home or to a homely setting as quickly as possible, but also helps ease pressure across the system,” Ms Robison explained. 

“However, this is about far more than just investment, it forms part of the Government’s overarching commitment to implementing the integration of health and social care services across Scotland.”

The newly announced funding comes on top of similar funding announced last year, and will mean that the Scottish Government will be able to start working more closely with local authorities and health boards to deliver reductions in the level of delayed discharges and bed days associated with them.

The Health Secretary added: “This will involve health boards working closer than ever with local government in a new relationship to deliver the right care to people in the right place at the right time.

“It will also include a shared commitment to deliver on key issues, such as discharging patients within 72 hours of clinical readiness, and reducing the number of hospital admissions that are avoidable.

“This announcement builds on the significant progress made to devise new and innovative ways to improve the flow of patients through health and care services. We will continue to support this work, together with our partners in the NHS and local government, to reshape the health and social care system as we work towards integration coming into force in April.”

As part of the Lanarkshire funding, £6.51million will go towards North Lanarkshire Council while the remaining £6.04million will go towards South Lanarkshire Council. 

Nationally, the funding will be divided across the next three years, with £30 million set ahead from the consequentials to pay for the measure in 2015/16, while the remaining £70million will be raised by subsequent health budgets and split 50/50 between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

In addition to the funding, a new taskforce has been set up with COSLA to roll out plans to support delayed discharge improvement.

Councillor Peter Johnston, COSLA’s Health and Well-being Spokesperson, described the new taskforce as a “timely investment from the Scottish Government – amidst a challenging operating environment for councils and health boards.”

He added: “The new Health and Social Care Partnerships will be forming in April and this resource will act as a real catalyst in making inroads into delayed discharge. Last November, council leaders took the landmark decision to focus on transferring people from hospital within 72 hours of their discharge date. Although a challenging aspiration, this resource will be crucial in helping partnerships to redesign services and create an even greater focus on supporting people to live independently at home.

“We will be taking a report to Council Leaders at the end of this month which will describe the investment in more detail. This new resource underpins a shared commitment between the Scottish Government and COSLA to improve performance, deliver on agreed objectives, and work with trust and reciprocity.” 
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