Around 35,000 people will benefit from a £70 million cash boost that will enable the NHS to support people back into their homes after a spell in hospital, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced today.
"Re-ablement" packages give people who are leaving hospital after illness or injury help and support for six weeks. Through re-ablement, people are helped to settle back into their homes, perhaps by changing their home environment so they can get around better or providing daily visits and support.
It ensures that those in greatest need get help to keep them independent and well for as long as possible. Re-ablement can offer savings to the health and social care system by ensuring that people get access to care that will prevent them from getting into difficulties and having to go back to hospital. The Government wants the NHS, councils and local voluntary organisations to work together to ensure that local people get a seamless service after discharge from hospital.
The extra funding will be allocated to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to be spent this financial year across the health and social care system. PCTs will work closely with hospitals and local authorities in delivering this. It will enable local areas to help thousands of people and ensure services are in place by the time the NHS picks up new responsibilities in April 2011 for patients' first 30 days at home after hospital discharge.
Andrew Lansley said:
"Too many patients don't get the seamless effective service they should when they leave hospital. They leave an environment in which they have been cared for around the clock to go home, sometimes alone, with no help. Too often they end up back in hospital because they haven't had help readjusting to life at home. In fact we've seen a 50 per cent increase in the number of emergency readmissions in the ten years from 1998. We need to do more to prevent this from happening.
"From next April, the NHS will have new responsibilities for people's care needs for 30 days after they leave hospital. This new funding will mean people will benefit right now and around 35,000 will start to get the help and support they need.
"Re-ablement will give opportunities for the NHS and councils, by working together locally, to make savings. Services of this kind have shown dramatic benefits in supporting people and cutting readmission to hospital. Our objective is for people to be once again independent, in their own homes."
The Government will publish its vision for adult social care in November, including a renewed focus on joint working with the NHS and the voluntary and community sector.
Notes to editors
1. This additional funding for re-ablement has come from savings from central Department of Health budgets.
2. PCTs will get the money from November.
3. The Health Secretary announced in a speech on 8 June that, from April next year, hospitals would be responsible for their patients for 30 days after being discharged. If a patient is readmitted within that time, the hospital will not receive additional payment for any additional treatment a person may need.
4. In the ten years from 1998-99 to 2007-08 emergency readmissions increased by 50 per cent from 359,719 to 546,354 (source "Compendium of clinical and health indicators", NCHOD October 2009).
5. PCTs and Local Authorities will report back their joint plans to Strategic Health Authorities.
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept