Care England has welcomed the Community Discharge Grant.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“It is imperative, despite the increased pressure the care system has come under in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, that people with a learning disability and/or autism are enabled to enjoy their rights to live purposeful lives as active members of families and communities. This additional funding will be given to local councils to accelerate discharge of patients with learning disabilities and/or autism from mental health hospitals into the community”.
In March 2019, former Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage MP, outlined that the ambition for March 2020 was to reduce the rate of inpatients with a learning disability and/or autism by 35% from the total number of inpatients in March 2015. Figures released earlier this year in April by NHS Digital, showed that there had only been a 27% reduction, therefore missing the outlined target by 8%. This is almost 300 more adult inpatients than the target. Equally as significant, of those in hospital at the end of May 2020, 1,255 (61%) had a total length of stay of over 2 years.
On 16 July the Department of Health and Social Care announced a £62 million fund to help discharge people with learning disabilities and autism into the community:
• Funding will be given to local councils to accelerate discharge of patients with learning disabilities and/or autism from mental health hospitals into the community
• The funding can be spent on costs associated with discharge, including establishing community teams, funding accommodation and staff training
• A new independent Oversight Panel has been set up to improve care and support for inpatients with learning disabilities and/or autism.
Martin Green continues:
“Care England has long highlighted the issues around meeting the objectives of the Transforming Care agenda, accordingly it is encouraging to see a decisive step taken in the right direction. However, this money must be earmarked and used to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. We welcome this grant and look forward to working with Baroness Hollins to help reach a long-term solution to the admission of the most vulnerable in society into inappropriate settings”.