Hartlepool wins £75,000 to tackle hospital bed blocking

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HARTLEPOOL social care leaders have been awarded £75,000 from national health chiefs to help tackle hospital bed blocking.

Hartlepool has been given the cash from the Department for Health’s Helping People Home grant.

It will be used to fund additional capacity within care management teams (social workers and occupational therapists) as well as additional domiciliary care support in the community.

The one-off allocations were awarded based on the number of over 65s in each area and to councils where there were more patient discharge delays due to a delay in home care packages and equipment being provided.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s adult services department experienced a 40 per cent increase in hospital discharges they have been involved with this winter compared to last year.

Jill Harrison, the council’s assistant director of adult services said: “There was an announcement at the end of January that all local authorities would receive a one off ring-fenced Helping People Home grant from the Department of Health to help management of delayed hospital discharges.

“There is a requirement that the Helping People Home grant is used by March 31 and in Hartlepool it will be used to fund additional capacity within care management teams (social workers and occupational therapists) as well as additional domiciliary care support in the community.”

Ms Harrison said the increase in hospital discharge referrals “has created significant pressures for the social care staff that manage the hospital discharge process”.

But the council stressed despite the huge pressure seen in hospitals this winter there has not been a delayed discharge due to a delay in a patient needing a social care assessment or a social care package being in place.

Hartlepool was previously given £70,000 of government funding to help manage pressure on the health service during the winter.

The money was used to pay for additional rehabilitation beds at West View Care Lodge and extra domiciliary care capacity over weekends.

Despite the cash hospitals up and down the country still came under unprecedented pressure.

Ms Harrison added: “This was replicated in the North East with all acute foundation trusts across the region reporting increased A&E attendances, longer waits, increased bed occupancy and more delayed discharges.”

Despite the pressure, Ms Harrison reported to the council’s Adult Services Committee, that the number of people being admitted to care homes during the winter, which normally increases, will be lower than in previous years.

She described it as a significant achievement considering the pressure seen this winter and the fact more people are living longer.