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Digest: Unsafe hospital discharges remain 'unacceptably high'

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The number of people being unsafely discharged from hospitals remains “unacceptably high as a result of political maladministration”, according to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Poor patient discharge can take the form of both delayed transfers of care - where patients are kept in hospital longer than is necessary - and premature or early discharge - where patients are discharged before it is clinically safe to do so, or without appropriate support in place.

PACAC’s latest report, published today, bemoaned the historic structural split between health and social care services which meant they were being managed and funded separately.

The committee called on the government to set out, by March 2017, arrangements for “long-term, sufficient, sustainable and integrated funding for adult social care”.

The report also recommended the government set out a clear plan for implementing integrated health and social care plans across the country.

Izzi Seccombe (Con), chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said councils were “doing all they can to avoid” patients being unsafely discharged from hospital but added the NHS was in “real danger of collapse” if social care services do not receive adequate funding.

“Getting people out of hospital more quickly and back living at home will only work properly if councils get enough resource throughout the whole year to fund adequate provision of care services,” said Cllr Seccombe, who is also leader of Warwickshire CC.

She reiterated calls for £700m funding earmarked for social care through the Better Care Fund by the end of the decade to be brought forward.

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