Wednesday 22nd November 2023

(6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Allan of Hallam Portrait Lord Allan of Hallam (LD)
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My Lords, I know the Minister is keen to ensure that people who are fit to leave hospital can do so quickly, but is he concerned that local government spending restrictions, imposed because of the state of the finances highlighted in the Question from the right reverend Prelate, may lead to more delayed discharges this coming winter? What steps are the Government taking to ensure that that does not happen—a hospital saying that a patient should leave, but the local authority saying that there is nowhere to go?

Lord Markham Portrait Lord Markham (Con)
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The noble Lord is absolutely correct that the flow through the hospital is vital to A&E and other wait times. That is why we have announced things such as the virtual ward: the 10,000 beds are designed to get people out of the hospital and into a care environment where they still feel supported, thereby using technology to help take the strain. The point about this year, and the whole reason why we announced the £600 million extra investment over the summer, is that we learned the lessons of the previous year, recognising that the earlier we can get this money to the local authorities, the better they can spend it to put the provision in place.