Rehabilitation must play vital role in latest discharge plan

The UK government must ensure that rehabilitation - and the workforce to deliver it - is properly considered in the latest plan to ease the crisis facing the NHS, says the CSP.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak visits NHS staff in Leeds
Prime minister Rishi Sunak talking to NHS staff during a visit to a community service in Leeds today. They include, to Mr Sunak's right, Andrew Merriman, a community matron with a background in physiotherapy. Photo: 10 Downing Street

The announcement by the UK government today that £200m is being spent to buy thousands of extra beds in care homes and other settings is a much-needed intervention. With the NHS engulfed in crisis, action is needed to be taken to speed up discharge and move as many medically-fit people as possible out of hospital.

The prime minister and health secretary hope that this action will take effect within the next few weeks, but its success depends on making sure that those patients who are discharged have access to high-quality rehabilitation and recovery services in order to enable them to return home. The government says, 'patients will be given the support they need from GPs, nurses and other community-based clinicians to continue their recovery.'

CSP chief executive Karen Middleton said: ‘This is potentially a positive step to address the crisis engulfing the NHS and ensure people get home sooner, but it relies on two things.

‘Firstly, it needs the health and social care staff to deliver the services at a time of desperate shortages in both sectors.

‘And secondly, it is essential that patients moved into care homes receive timely, effective rehabilitation to ensure they can go home when well enough rather than simply find themselves stranded again.

‘The former brings challenges for delivery while failure on the latter would only create further misery for patients and greater pressures on social care.

It is essential that the government ensures this is delivered well, addresses the critical longer-term issues of workforce – including a pay deal that supports the recruitment and retention of staff – and provides better care, closer to home, so that we never again face this disastrous situation.’ 

In a clear signal of the importance of community services to solving the crisis in the NHS, prime minister Rishi Sunak visited an MSK clinic and neighbourhood team in Leeds.

Six new discharge 'frontrunner' sites have also been announced, in order to reduce discharge delays. The sites are:

  • Sussex Health and Care Integrated Care System: trialling a new data tool to help services manage performance, give operational oversight and manage demand
  • The Northern Care Alliance: trialling specialised dementia hubs to support people who have a greater chance of readmission
  • Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care System: supporting patients to move across health and social care organisations through innovative use of data and real-time intelligence
  • One Croydon Alliance: trialling a fully integrated team between acute and community, integrated IT system, integrated financial systems and integrated leadership, to better coordination between hospitals and community care settings like rehabilitation services
  • Leeds Health and Care Partnership: focused on intermediate care, establishing an Active Recovery Service providing short-term community rehabilitation and reablement. Focus on rehabilitation and reablement not only improves patient experience but helps prevent future readmission
  • Warwickshire Place: trialling a partnership between the NHS and social care to help provide care and support to patients when they are released from hospital into the community, increasing capacity for home care, and expanding recruitment

Read the full announcement from the UK government 

Number of subscribers: 2

Log in to comment and read comments that have been added