NHS fails to charge local authorities for blocked hospital beds—but delayed discharge is mostly hospitals' fault

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 09 August 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:274
  1. Roger Dobson
  1. Abergavenny

    Most hospitals in England do not charge local authorities for “bed blocking,” the term that describes extra stay in hospital because social services have failed to provide the care services that patients need after discharge, new research has found. However, it also found that the NHS, rather than local authorities, is responsible for two thirds of the number of bed days resulting from delayed discharge.

    “There is no evidence to support government policy of charging social service departments for delay,” say the authors of the study, which provides data from across England on delays in discharge of patients from acute hospitals since the Community Care Act was introduced in 2003 (Journal of Public Health doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdm026). This act gave NHS hospitals the power to charge social …

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