The NHS has this week launched an online portal to assist NHS hospitals in identifying care home places for patients upon discharge.
Elderly and infirm patients are often delayed in being discharged from hospital due to the lack of availability of a suitable care home for them to be discharged to. Often, their care needs will have changed since their admission to hospital. The fact that patients remain in hospital after they are medically fit for discharge – but cannot return to their previous home – places a strain on the NHS. In 2018, the NHS estimated around 250,000 hospital beds days were taken up by patients well enough to be discharged but with no care home to go to.
The aim of the online portal is that social care staff and NHS staff can view available care home beds in the local area instantly rather than having to check availability with each home individually.
For insurers, a more efficient system of hospital discharge will mean if nothing else a reduction in NHS charges – these may be repayable by the insurer/defendant if the patient is in hospital as a result of an accident due to for example the negligence of the care home. The Compensation Recovery Unit will seek to impose these charges for the entirety of the patient’s stay in hospital even if the patient is delayed in being discharged from hospital once medically fit and well.
A link to the Capacity Tracker portal and further information can be found here:
Written by Jennifer Johnston, associate at BLM