Headlines: September 16th, 1998

More co-ordination and planning is needed between the health and social services to ensure the smooth transfer of older people back to their homes after a stay in hospital, according to a report from the Social Services Inspectorate. The report, based on findings from inspections of eight local authority areas, reveals that the quality of work with patients and carers, both leading up to and after leaving hospital, is often good. But there was room improvement in inter-disciplinary assessment, care planning, and discharge arrangements.Denise Platt, Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate, said: “A consistent theme running through recent Government initiatives is the need for health and social services to work more closely together – it is a priority that there should be a joint approach to planning and delivering services to ensure “seamless” care for those who need it.

“It is encouraging to see that in some areas this is happening, with staff fully co-operating to pull together effective, and efficient care plans following best practice hospital discharge procedures.”However, monitoring information and performance measures were rarely robust enough for managers in social services or across agencies to chart the development of services effectively.”

Copies of the report “Getting Better? Inspection of Hospital Discharge (Care Management) Arrangements for Older People are available from: Department of Health PO Box 410 Wetherby LS23 7LN. Fax 0990 210266.