The NCF has reacted to the government’s announcement that it will make £200m available for short-term care placements to allow people to be discharged from hospitals.
The funds are intended to enable local authorities to buy extra beds in care homes in order to discharge more patients who are fit to leave hospital, freeing up hospital beds at a time when the NHS finds itself in acute crisis.
National Care Forum CEO Professor Vic Rayner OBE said: “The emergency funding is indeed welcome. This is a situation where care homes can and do make a real difference, enabling people to leave the acute system, gain support and rehabilitation, and then continue their journey home. This is already happening in many parts of the country, and the additional funding will make this happen at pace. However, in the rush to discharge it is important that the strategic lessons are learned.
“This is a response to a crisis that is years in the making. There are a number of core things that need to happen to ensure this makes a difference, and does not divert the problem to a cliff edge a matter of months down the road.”
The NCF says that the government must turn the current crisis into an ‘effective care response’ by:
- Ensuring care providers take their place at the ICB (Integrated Care Board) decision making table, recognising their strategic role in ensuring communities and people get the care and support they need.
- Funding the discharge at a level that enables care providers to pay their staff a wage that reflects their expertise and skill in helping people build back the confidence, health, and resilience they need to either return home or to live a fulfilling life within a care setting.
- Not letting this new funding ‘drop disconnected into the bubbling morass of crisis’, but instead providing certainty to enable organisations to take on new staff, invest in new facilities, and to develop in-house rehabilitative resources.
- Wrapping the rehabilitative resource around the individual, rather than letting people move from hospital either back home or into a care setting without the necessary support from skilled physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and social workers.
- Investing in prevention buy addressing delays in assessment, the inability for social care funding to address anything other than acute needs, the challenges around accessing primary healthcare, and the long delays in waiting lists.