FOCUSING adult social care services on clearing the hospital bed-blocking backlog leads to more people going to hospital, BCP Council’s chief executive has warned.

Graham Farrant said concentrating on delayed discharge levels, the government’s national target, took resources away from domiciliary care, which prevents people from being admitted to hospital.

The senior local authority officer told this month’s health and wellbeing board meeting that putting resources into addressing bed blocking had led to the council being 4,000 hours short in domiciliary care.

Mr Farrant said if these 4,000 hours had been delivered, many people would not go into hospital in the first place.

While he acknowledged concerns raised by NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group director of primary and community care Sally Sandcraft, Mr Farrant urged health bosses to focus on the whole system of social care and health together – something he is raising both locally and nationally.

“I really genuinely don’t want a conversation about delayed discharge,” Mr Farrant said.

“I want a conversation about how many people are going into hospital and how we get them out more effectively.

“What we have found is the focus of putting our adult social care resources into dealing with delayed discharge means that we are something like 4,000 hours of domiciliary care short and those 4,000 hours of domiciliary care would stop people going into hospital in the first place.

“By focusing on delayed discharge, which is the government’s national target, that is all valid but it does result in more people going to hospital because we aren’t able to provide the pre-hospital care.

“I just think we have got to make sure we don’t just have a conversation about one part of the system, we have a conversation about the entire system.”

Ms Sandcraft said there were more than 220 people in Dorset hospitals – the majority in Royal Bournemouth and Poole – who had been ready to go to their own home for some time but they are stuck in hospital beds waiting for package of care.

She said: “One hundred and seventy of those of those are waiting for local authority-funded care. That really has a detrimental impact on their outcomes and their long-term care needs and it also has a detrimental impact on all of us as a system in terms of the best use of resources.”

The challenge the Dorset health and social care system had in this area should not be underestimated, Ms Sandcraft said.

She said: “That doesn’t even take account of those people waiting for care at home.

“We really need to value social care in this space and our system energies around how we address the challenges we have got in securing good long-term domiciliary care and support as well as residential care and we all have an interest to do that.”

Ms Sandcraft said she had concerns that the CCG capacity did not meet the level of need and the financial challenges this presented councils.