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CCGs must do more to improve learning disability discharge rates

CCGs must do more to improve learning disability discharge rates

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More work must be done to ensure patients with learning disabilities are discharged from hospital in a timely manner, NHS England has claimed. 

A detailed analysis of hospital data is being used to uncover progress in the Winterbourne View Concordat action plan. 

The concordat aims to ensure all people with learning disabilities receive health and care support in the most appropriate setting. 

NHS England admitted that too many people with learning disabilities end up in hospital “unnecessarily” and stay there for too long. 

The analysis shows that as of 31 March 2014 35% of patients that were in hospital on 1 April 2013 have been transferred. 

A total of 34% of people whose care is commissioned by clinical commissioning groups have a planned discharge date within 12 months, and the majority will be transferred within six months. 

However, 88% of people admitted since 1 March 2013 do not have a transfer date, and 81% of people who have not had a formal review in the past six months have been in hospital for over a year. 

And 1,702 patients in England do not have a planned transfer date due to a clinical decision. 

Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, said: “Some people with learning disabilities have complex individual needs and need care planned to meet those needs. But a hospital is not a home and patients should never be in hospital longer than necessary.  Much more needs to be done to ensure that each patient receives a regular review and has a plan and out of hospital care package in place so that they can return to their families and communities as soon as possible.

“We need to redouble our efforts and through the Winterbourne Joint Improvement Programme, we will continue working with our Area Teams and Clinical Commissioning Groups to ensure these patients receive the best possible care.”

NHS England also wrote to its Area Teams in June setting out six priority actions to focus on:

 - All patients are on a register

- A local care co-ordinator is assigned to each patient

- Estimated transfer dates and care plan reviews

- A patient tracking list to schedule reviews for people who have not been assessed for six months

- CCGs with five or fewer patients should by the end of June 2014 ensure that all have a transfer date

- Patients in non-secure hospital settings for two or more years should be prioritised for review

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