News, Secondary Care

Funding announced to drive interoperability between NHS and social care

NHS Digital has announced £1.4m funding for local authorities and their NHS partners to digitise patient discharge from hospital into local authority social care, to help reduce delayed discharges.

Applications are now open for local authorities to integrate their systems with at least one of their NHS partners, to create digital assessment, discharge and withdrawal processes (ADW).

Currently, the differences between NHS and local authority IT systems present an effective obstacle for organisations looking to go digital, and they are often left struggling with interoperability issues.

Local authorities, with their NHS partners, have identified non-digital systems that handle the ADW process as one of the main causes of delayed transfers of care, and local authorities also carry the risk of being non-compliant with the Care Act 2014. This has led NHS Digital, in conjunction with NHS England, to offer funding to partnerships that have the potential to speed up the process.

Tom Denwood, Director of Data and Integration at NHS Digital said: “Delayed transfers of care constitute a huge problem for both the NHS and local authorities as well as having a significant effect on patients. This funding is intended to support local government and the wider NHS to increase cross-sector interoperability and greatly reduce the time taken to transfer patients between hospitals and local authority social care.”

Ben Moody, Head of Health and Social Care at techUK said: “This offers a good opportunity for our members, both to those who are delivering solutions to individual organisations or delivering integrated records, to improve citizen care.”