NHSE calls for discharge evidence improvements for mental health and community services

NHS England has called for integrated care boards and NHS acute, mental health and community chief executives, as part of the discharge challenge for mental health and community services providers, to provide evidence of improvements by March 2023.

In a letter sent to system leaders this month, it notes that many organisations have initiatives in place and that it expects systems by March 2023 to be able to provide evidence of demonstrable improvements in discharge related metrics.

It adds an expectation that infrastructure is in place to focus on the ongoing implementation of the initiatives and for there to be more local accountability of community and mental health discharges at system/place. A third expectation is for systems to have “a full understanding of the interventions and the support offer available from NHS England to assist with implementation”.

For reporting on improvements, the letter notes: “We want systems to be able to evidence demonstrable improvements in discharge related metrics, including: avoidable length of stay; the proportion of beds occupied by someone Clinically Ready for Discharge; and improved flow and timely access to local beds for people who require inpatient admission.”

To support the initiatives the Department of Health and Social Care has opened a £500 million funding programme to support adult social care and discharges from inpatient settings.

The letter adds that the funding will be routed through the Better Care Fund, and system leaders will need to demonstrate the value that the funding has brought to lowering the number of patients awaiting discharge and the subsequent improved flow through the system.