CQC tasked with evaluating health and social care integration
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has asked the Care Quality Commission to carry out 12 reviews of local areas to consider how well they are working at the health and social care boundary.
Addressing Parliament on July 3rd, Mr Hunt said the reviews would begin immediately, with most being completed by the end of November, with a view to identifying issues and driving rapid improvement. A further eight reviews will be commissioned based on a new performance dashboard and informed by local authority returns due in July.
Mr Hunt said the reviews formed part of the Government’s strategy to reduce delayed transfers of care (DToCs) and free-up hospital beds in advance of this coming winter.
“Last year there were 2.25m delayed discharges, up 24.5% from 1.81m in the previous year,” said the health secretary. “The Government are clear that no-one should stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary: it removes people’s dignity, reduces their quality of life; leads to poorer health and care outcomes for people; and is more expensive for the taxpayer.
“Since February, there have been significant improvements within the health and care system, with a record decrease in month-on month delayed discharges in April 2017. We are supportive of the best performing systems where local government and the NHS are working together to tackle the challenge of delayed transfers of care. However, we are clear that we must make much faster and more significant progress well in advance of next winter to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients and reduce pressures on overcrowded A&E departments.”
Mr Hunt said the Government would out a further package of measures to support both the NHS and local government to reduce delays,including:
- The integration and better care fund planning requirements 2017-19, clarifying how this, and other aspects of the better care fund planning process, will operate.
- Joint NHS England, NHS Improvement, Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services guidance on implementing trusted assessors.
- A performance dashboard showing how local areas in England are performing against metrics across the NHS-social care interface including delayed discharges.
- Plans for local government to deliver an equal share to the NHS of the expectation to free up 2,500 hospital beds, including a breakdown of delayed days per 100,000 of the population and the indicative reduction levels required by each local authority and local NHS, which can be shared out differently at local level if agreed by both organisations.
Mr Hunt told Parliament the system had worked extremely hard to agree spending plans and put in place actions to make use of the £1 billion provided in 2017-18 to meet the three purposes of the funding:
- meeting adult social care needs;
- reducing pressures on the NHS, including getting supporting more people to be discharged from hospital when they are ready; and,
- ensuring that the local social care provider market is supported.
“The health and care system has committed health and social care staff and managers up and down the country working every single day to deliver the best outcomes for people,” said Mr Hunt. “Today’s announcement will give our workforce and their leaders clarity on how the Government expect the NHS and local government to work together to achieve this joint ambition.”