Published: 26/09/2002, Volume II2, No. 5824 Page 9

Health, social care and patients' organisations in Manchester have united to produce a joint paper criticising the government's proposed 'fines' for delayed discharges.

Under the proposals, social services departments will be fined£100 for each day they are responsible for the delayed discharge of an elderly person from hospital.

Manchester social services coordinated the response to consultation on the scheme, which ended last week. The document also represents the views of senior officers in the city's three primary care trusts, three acute hospital trusts, three community health councils, the Manchester Alliance for Community Care and Manchester Older People's Network.

It says: 'There is general concern that these proposals will be detrimental to joint working across Manchester and will erode the goodwill that has been built up, often with considerable difficulty.'

It adds that the proposals 'contradict the philosophy, and in some cases the letter' of the national service framework for older people. 'There is no reference to the patient perspective, their right to choice and to participate in their own care planning.

'They are seen as a troublesome 'unit' to be moved on as quickly as possible, not a human being with rights, who is often having to make profound decisions about the rest of their lives and need time, space and calm to allow them to do so.'