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(UK) Nottingham: New position to help release autistic people from local hospitals

Dec 28, 2022, Nottinghamshire Live: New role created in Nottingham to help free up hospital beds

A new social worker job will be created in Nottingham to help get medically fit patients discharged from hospital to free up beds. It follows city hospitals struggling to admit patients at busy times because patients who are well have nowhere to go due to pressures in social care. At one point towards the end of November, Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) Trust, which runs the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, had more than 170 patients ready for discharge. NUH says this figure is 'frequently' 180 to 200 patients, well above the target of 64. Now the Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), a partnership of NHS and care organisations across the county, has secured £60,000 [$72K] in funding from NHS England, and this will be used to fund a new social worker job in Nottingham City Council. It is intended this role will go some way to cutting down the number of people staying in hospital for very long periods. It will come as part of NHS England’s ‘Transforming Care’ programme, which is aiming to reduce the number of people effectively living in hospitals, particularly those living with learning disabilities and autism. Council documents say: “Transforming Care is the name given to a programme of work intended to reduce the number of citizens with a learning disability and or autism, and citizens who have conditions linked to autistic spectrum disorder living in hospital.

“The Transforming Care agenda is being jointly delivered by health and social care. Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board have secured funding from NHS England to support delivery of the programme and have agreed that it would be beneficial to add social work capacity to the forensic mental health team. This additional capacity will improve the timely discharge of citizens from hospital.”

A&E admissions are also rising, typically adding to the pressures in hospitals. The Queen’s Medical Centre saw 18,808 people turn up in November 2022, compared with 17,917 in October.

On top of this, staffing problems in adult social care in Nottingham are compounding the difficulties in the sector, which typically takes up more than 60% of the Labour-run city council’s budget. Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay says the Government will be allocating an extra £500million [$603M] to speed up hospital discharge.


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