NHS Providers Calls for Social Care Targets

NHS Providers has suggested that short-term reduction targets for hospital bed days should be agreed between NHS leaders and councils.

Bed-blocking has been a massive problem in the NHS, and the authorities recently announced an additional £1.2 billion investment in social care for 2017/18 in an attempt to address the situation.

The healthcare body tasked with the responsibility of representing NHS trusts welcomes the extra funding announced in the recent budget, but also warned members that negotiating with local government partners will be essential.

And this latest morsel of information follows a senior source in the NHS stating that it will be essential for organisations to be assertive in order to acquire the best value for money possible from councils.

Funding must lead to reductions in hospital bed usage if the money is to be spent appropriately, according to NHS national leaders.

Indeed, this process is central to the plans for improving performance over the next 12 months, with the critical winter period a particular focus.

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson suggested that the additional funding will be absolutely essential in ensuring that the healthcare system remains functional during the forthcoming financial year.

“We welcome the extra £1.2bn funding for social care in 2017-18. But we must ensure that as much of that money as possible supports the NHS as well. We have written to our members today to suggest that they immediately start discussions with their local authority counterparts on how the extra money will be spent.”

Hopson also outlined the policy of NHS Providers in this area, indicating the advice of the umbrella body for trusts.

“We are suggesting they try to agree a specific, target, number of freed up bed-days from reduced delayed transfers of care. We need concrete, measurable, commitments whose delivery can then be monitored.”

As has often been the case in various areas of the healthcare system, it seems that there will be significant regional variations with regard to the allocation of money.

A breakdown of the funding indicates that significantly different amounts will be sent to various local authorities.

Although the extra funding has been broadly welcomed, this budget announcement follows on the heels of many years of cuts to local authority budgets.

There is therefore concern among NHS professionals and observers that the amount of money allocated to the NHS for the next couple of years will prove to be insufficient.

While additional funding will undoubtedly help the healthcare system, it is also worth noting that the NHS is already been informed that it must meet the 95% Accident and Emergency four-hour waiting target by next March.

Considering the poor performance of the healthcare system against this target, it is a certainty that this will be extremely challenging.


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