Digital tool to help reduce avoidable lengthy stays in hospital

NHS England | April 2019 | Digital tool to help reduce avoidable lengthy stays in hospital

A new digital tool has been developed to enable staff to easily identify care homes that have spaces for patients, this will save hours spent phoning to determine if there is availability.

The new portal, being introduced by councils and the NHS, will mean that patients who require a care home placement will be supported to leave hospital sooner.  The tool has been trialled in the North, Devon and Berkshire last year,  with over 6000 care home already signed up to use it and now thousands more can sign up to use it.

The Capacity Tracker- a digital portal- is accessible on any device, and takes care homes just 30 seconds to upload details of their available beds, helping health and social care staff to find the right services for individual patients, including those with dementia or a learning disability.

Further information is available at NHS England 

Social Care Institute for Excellence: Webinar recording: Integrating Better

Social Care Institute for Excellence | March 2019 | Webinar recording: Integrating Better

The purpose of this webinar, recorded on 29 March 2019, has been to introduce a new guide which captures common features of good practice of integration between health, social care and the voluntary and community sector. The guide and associated materials are called Integrating Better: new resources on health and social care integration.

The guide – and the accompanying webinar – covers key topics such as: Leadership for integration; Promoting self-care; Supporting care closer to home; and care and support in a crisis

Webinar recording: Integrating Better

Guide available (requires SCIE registration)

Transforming Children’s Services

Transforming children’s services | Public Accounts Committee

This report looks at the current pressures on children’s social care and what the Department of Education has been doing to make the quality or finances of these services sustainable.

The report concludes that the Department for Education has not done enough and requires a step-change in the understanding of pressures, the reduction of unnecessary variation between areas in their social care activities and the costs of providing them, and greater pace in its work with struggling local authorities.

Full report available here

See also: ‘Children deserve better’ than slow progress on social care

Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care in 2018

Since 1983, NatCen Social Research’s British Social Attitudes survey has asked members of the public in England, Scotland and Wales about their views on the NHS and health and care issues more generally.  Alongside the Nuffield Trust, in this publication the King’s Fund  explores the findings from the 2018 survey.

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The BSA is a ‘gold standard’ survey and is conducted the same way every year, with the data provideing a rich time trend going back to 1983. This adds a depth and context to the findings that no other measure of NHS satisfaction provides. As a result, when satisfaction changes in the BSA, we are as confident as we can be that it reflects a genuine change in public attitudes.

Key findings

Satisfaction with the NHS overall in 2018

  • Public satisfaction with the NHS overall continued to fall in 2018. Overall satisfaction was 53 per cent – a 3 percentage point drop from the previous year and the lowest level since 2007.
  • Older people were more satisfied than younger people: 61 per cent of those aged 65 and over were satisfied with the NHS compared to 51 per cent of those aged 18–64.
  • Satisfaction levels also differed between supporters of different political parties: 58 per cent of supporters of the Conservative party were satisfied compared to 51 per cent of supporters of the Labour party.
  • The four main reasons people gave for being satisfied with the NHS overall were: the quality of care; the fact that the NHS is free at the point of use; the range of services and treatments available; and the attitudes and behaviour of NHS staff.
  • The four main reasons people gave for being dissatisfied with the NHS overall were: long waiting times; staff shortages; a lack of funding; and money being wasted.

Full detail at The King’s Fund

Full publication: Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care in 2018: Results from the British Social Attitudes survey

See also:

Brexit: the implications for health and social care

Brexit has major implications for health and social care in England. In this ‘long read’, the Kings Fund looks at some of the latest developments that could impact the health and care system in England.


The deadline of 29 March 2019, set when Article 50 was triggered, is rapidly approaching but many important issues are still to be resolved. Brexit has already had an impact, especially on the recruitment and retention of EU nationals in some parts of the workforce which is contributing to shortages of key staff. In addition, the ongoing debate in parliament and uncertainty about whether a deal can be agreed mean considerable work has gone into preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

The Department of Health and Social Care has published guidance for organisations to prepare contingency plans and has established a national operational response centre to lead on responding to any disruption to the delivery of health and care services.

This long read, originally written by Helen McKenna and published on 13 December 2017, has been updated by Beccy Baird on 22 February 2019 and explores the following topics:

  • Staffing
  • Accessing treatment
  • Regulation
  • Cross-border co-operation
  • Funding and finance

Full detail at the Kings Fund

Pressures on children’s social care

National Audit Office | January 2019 | Pressures on children’s social care

Pressures on children’s social care  is a report from the National Audit Office. The report sets out recent trends in pressures on children’s social care demand and activity and the response of both national and local government to these pressures. It also sets out analysis the National Audit Office conducted about what is causing variations in children’s social care demand and activity between different local authorities.

The report covers:

  • the pressures on children’s social care (Part One);
  • the response of national and local government to increasing demand for children’s social care (Part Two); and
  • our analysis of what is causing variations in demand for children’s social care between local authorities (Part Three).

Full report – Pressures on children’s social care

Summary – Pressures on children’s social care

ePub – Pressures on children’s social care

Press Release (Source: National Audit Office)

Health and care integration

Interface between health and social care | Public Accounts Committee

This report highlights the widespread consensus that integration and joint working is the right way forward for the health and social care system to deliver the best and most effective outcomes for people and their families.

Financial pressures and an ageing population have both increased the need for joined-up working, with local authorities reducing real-terms spending on adult social care by 5.3% between 2010-11 and 2016-17, while the number of people in England aged 85 and over rose by 28% between 2006 and 2016.

However, the report finds that the government lacks an effective overall strategy or plan to achieve its aim of integrating the health and social care sectors. It recommends the government should set out a costed 10-year plan for social care to go with its 10-year plan for the NHS.