ADASS President's response to complaints of delayed transfersAssociation of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Wednesday 5th January 2011
Embargo: Immediate

In response to a newspaper story concerning delayed transfers of older people from hospital into the community, ADASS President Richard Jones said today: There is no single explanation for why transfers of older people from hospital to home or residential care are delayed. As a spokeswoman for the Nuffield Trust has confirmed, they can often be caused by insufficiently robust NHS point-of-exit arrangements as well as local authority delays. And sometimes the passage of patients from one hospital department or ward to another is not as efficient as it ought to be.

At the end of the second quarter ( Oct 2010) 24% of delayed transfers were attributed to social care, 7% were jointly the responsibility of health and social care and 69% were the responsibility of health  services. It is often easier to blame others for a problem than accept your own organisations role and responsibility

Recent research published in September and November last year by Community Care magazine and the Care Quality Commission respectively suggests that few authorities were planning to raise their eligibility criteria for care services in 2010/2011. Indeed, in their last annual report CQC highlighted the significant progress that had been made on reducing delayed transfers.

We have seen, however, increasing pressure on local authority budgets in the context of reducing resource overall for local government, where adult social care is the largest area of spend in most councils. Yesterday's announcement by the government of an immediate, in-year release of £162 million to help us manage these transfers is welcomed. As are the additional sums which were promised in the comprehensive spending review.

Members of my association are committed to continuing to make increased efficiency savings , to integrating  the way health and social care work together and focussing on helping people stay independent and getting them back on their feet when they need care and support. Councils have some very tough choices to make in balancing their  reducing budgets against increasing demand and will do all in their power to protect front line services. * The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.