• Councils told to ‘set expectations on contribution they must make’ to reducing delayed discharges
  • New performance dashboard will show how every council area in England is performing
  • Move follows NHS concerns extra social care cash will not help DTOCs issues

Councils will be told to set new targets for reducing social care-related delayed transfers, as part of new government measures aimed at speeding up discharge from hospital.

Jeremy Hunt set out the proposals, which also include the Care Quality Commission carrying out “targeted reviews” and a new dashboard showing how every council area is performing, in a statement to parliament tonight.

The heath secretary said in a statement to media: “Local authorities will set expectations on the contribution they must make to reducing the number of delayed transfers of care in their local areas, including agreeing their contribution at a local level with the NHS as a condition of the Better Care Fund.

“A new performance dashboard will show how health and social care partners in every council area in England are performing against a number of metrics so this can be closely monitored.

“These will include on delayed transfers of care, but also emergency admissions, length of stay in hospital, the numbers of people still at home 90 days after being discharged from hospital and proportion of people being discharged who receive reablement services.”

The move follows concerns raised by senior NHS figures, first revealed by HSJ in May, that the extra £2bn of social care funding for councils in the Spring Budget not relieve pressure on hospitals as ministers had hoped.

The government’s Mandate to the NHS for 2017-18 pledged delayed transfers of care should equate to no more than 3.5 per cent of all hospital beds by September, which would free up around 2,000 to 3,000 hospital beds.

However, NHS Providers’ research published last week said the proportion of beds occupied by DTOCs stood at 5.6 per cent at the end of 2016-17 – and only 18 per cent of trusts it surveyed were confident of hitting the September target.

A Department of Health statement added: “The [CQC] will also drive improvement by performing targeted reviews of local systems and examine how effectively health and care systems are working together.”

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said it was “encouraging” ministers were attempting to address the issue. However, he added that NHS Providers’ warning “still stands” and he called for “£350m investment now to cope with pressures in the coming winter”.

Mr Hopson added: “We are pleased there are now specific targets for each local authority, which will be closely monitored. And we welcome the rapid CQC review of 12 areas to see how well they are working at the health and social care boundary. However we await detail of how this will work.”

CQC chief executive David Behan said: “Our intention is that the review findings will highlight what is working well and where there are opportunities for improving how the system works, enabling the sharing of good practice and identifying where additional support is needed to secure better outcomes for people using services.”