Lincolnshire will receive over £2.5 million to speed up patient discharge and free up hospital beds

Lincolnshire is set to receive over £2.5 million of the government’s discharge fund to speed up patient discharge, reduce ambulance handover times and and free up hospital beds.

Lincolnshire County Council will receive £2,806,625 of the government’s £500million discharge fund to free up hospital beds through quicker patient discharge, with the first payments being made in the coming weeks, and a second tranche of funding to be distributed in January 2023.

Addressing the workforce at the NHS Providers’ annual conference in Liverpool, the Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay set out his priorities on Wednesday (November 16) for the coming months.

Districts will be asked to spend the funding available on targeted approaches such as to buy home care packages, in order to free up the maximum number of hospital beds as soon as possible and to support the people who have been waiting longest to be discharged from hospital.

Funding may also be used to boost adult social care workforce capacity, through staff recruitment and retention, where that will help reduce delayed discharges.

The discharge fund is provided by the Department of Health and Social Care to local authorities with conditions to ensure it is effective in improving discharge for local areas.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “It is vital that those areas with the biggest challenges are seeing the most funding to help speed up the discharge of patients from hospital.

“In line with our devolved and data-driven approach we will be allowing local areas to determine how best the money is spent to free up beds and support people back into the community.

“This might be through purchasing supportive technology boosting domiciliary care capacity or physiotherapists and occupational therapists to support recovery at home.

“We will also be looking closely at the impact of how funding is used and using this data to inform future decisions around funding”.

Of the £500 million, £300 million will be given to Integrated Care Boards to improve bed capacity and £200 million for local authorities to bolster the social care workforce, increasing capacity to take on more patients from hospitals.

Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, said: "People should be cared for in the best place for them, but discharge delays mean patients are spending too long in hospital.

“Our discharge fund will give local integrated care boards and local authorities the money they need to face challenges around discharge. This will be different for each area which is why we’re letting local areas decide how best to spend the money, working together to help patients and carers too, who often take on a lot of the burden of caring when someone leaves hospital.

“The discharge fund will boost the social care workforce and in turn reduce pressures on the NHS and hospital staff, as it frees up beds and helps improve ambulance handover delays.”