Social services ‘needs to change’ to help Northampton General Hospital

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Beds are often being blocked in Northamptonshire hospitals because social services cannot take adult referrals at weekends, according to the opposition leader at County Hall.

The Labour group on Northamptonshire County Council said more money needed to be allocated for extra staff to assess patients in evenings and at weekends so they can be discharged quicker.

Councillor Mary Butcher (Lab, Oakley) said: “It’s about speeding the process up.

“Hospitals are very keen to allow people to leave as soon as they’re able to free up capacity.

“Older patients have to be assessed by adult social services. However assessors don’t work weekends and it often means patients are in hospital days longer than they need.”

She said Labour would like to see £869,000 spent on upgrading the service, paid for by cutting £1 million from the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP).

However, Councillor Robin Brown, the cabinet member for health, said he did not believe the proposal would help enough bed blockers to be worthwhile.

He said: “A joint approach between the council and the NHS, which we are implementing, is a far better way. What the Labour group are suggesting would see only those eligible for social care get 24-hour assessments. The joint approach will make it smoother for self-funders too.”