HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 cc1202-3W
Sandra Gidley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the cost of setting up operational, financial and computer systems to manage the fining system for bed blocking; [152761]

(2) how many extra care management staff have been employed to manage the fining system for bed blocking, broken down by (a) strategic health authority and (b) local authority; [152762]

(3) how much local authorities have been charged in fines for delayed discharge in January, broken down by local authority; [152763]

(4) how many beds are classified as fineable and could potentially attract charges for delayed discharge. [152807]

Dr. Ladyman

The cost of fulfilling the requirements of the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Act 2003 was estimated at £5.5 million in the regulatory impact assessment for the Bill. Most of this cost is around improving the communication between the national health service and social services so that each patient's discharge is planned as effectively as possible. Financial systems for charging will be a small part, and minimal in areas where performance is good.

Care management staff do not manage the system of charging; they assess and arrange the care that people need. There is no central record of the number of additional care managers who have been recruited to improve the quality and timeliness of the care packages which patients receive.

I refer the hon. Member to my response to the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) on 5 February 2004, Official Report, column 1064W on the payment of charges in January.

Charges for delayed discharge are based on the patient, not the bed which they are occupying. so numbers will vary depending on the patients in hospital. Currently, charges are potentially payable for a patient who has been receiving acute hospital care and needs community care services from social services in order to be safely discharged. There is only a liability for a charge when that patient is delayed solely because of a lack of social services.

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