Briefing

Briefing for Members of the Senedd: Debate on hospital discharge and patient flow through hospitals

Briefing sent to MSs ahead of a date on the Health and Social Care Committee report "Hospital discharge and patient flow through hospitals".

12 October 2022

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Authors

Chapters

Key points

  • We welcomed the Health and Social Care Committee’s (the Committee’s) report on hospital discharge and having the opportunity to contribute to the inquiry.
  • Delays in hospital discharge of clinically fit individuals impacts patients, staff and on the flow of patients through hospitals, affecting the care available for others. It leads to patients being cared for in settings which are not the most appropriate to their needs and could introduce additional risks of harm to them, including hospital-acquired infections. It also has a knock-on effect on other NHS services.
  • We support the Committee’s recommendation that there needs to be significant reforms to the pay and working conditions for social care staff. As highlighted in our recent briefing, "It's not just a crisis, it's a national emergency": Addressing the challenges in social care, 100 per cent of NHS leaders who participated in our survey agreed there is a crisis in the social care workforce, with a subsequent impact on patient care and safety.
  • While there are significant challenges across the health and care system, the NHS is working with local authorities at a local level to develop partnerships to assist in reducing the current extreme pressures on the system, with initiatives taking place within hospital discharge, workforce and prevention space. One major development taking place across Wales is the systematic approach to discharging patients from hospital to assess their strengths and identify care and support requirements.
  • While there are significant challenges across the health and care system, the NHS is working with local authorities at a local level to develop partnerships to assist in reducing the current extreme pressures on the system, with initiatives taking place within hospital discharge, workforce and prevention space. One major development taking place across Wales is the systematic approach to discharging patients from hospital to assess their strengths and identify care and support requirements.
  • There needs to be flexible use of resources across health and social care, with funding allocated to both sectors as an integrated system and involving key incentives to encourage closer working relationships.
  • Delayed transfer of care disrupts not just the life of the patient, as well as potentially compromising their recovery, but the lives of their family and carers.
  • The Welsh Government Help Us Help You campaign should be rolled out and promoted across all public and third sector organisations to raise awareness of the most appropriate NHS service for individuals’ needs.