The King's Fund welcomed today's report by the Department of Health, which shows services for older people are improving, but warned that future progress could be hampered if funding is diverted from the intermediate care services that have greatly reduced delayed discharges and ploughed into new services for improving care for older people with long-term conditions.
The King's Fund senior health and social care adviser Janice Robinson said:
'Delayed discharges have long been a problem for the English health care system, but this report shows that fewer older people than ever before are being forced to stay in hospital when they don't need to. This is encouraging, especially when older people are given the right levels of support when leaving hospital.
'But we are concerned that this progress could be hampered by the need to fund new developments to improve care of patients of all ages with long-term conditions, especially as this is a new policy priority which has not received extra funding. Our fear is that primary care trusts will only be able to finance these developments by cutting intermediate care services and community nursing care currently devoted to older people. Both types of service are important and should be funded adequately.'
Notes to editors:
1. For further information or interviews, please contact The King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585.
2. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.