A digital tool that is being introduced by the NHS and councils to allow health and social care staff to see vacancies in local care homes.
The Capacity Tracker, which is being rolled out to care homes, councils and hospitals to avoid lengthy stays in hospital, is part of NHS England’s Long Term Plan for the health service.
Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “One of the central ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan is to better support people to age well, and that means joining up different services locally to better meet people’s needs.
“By using this technology to work together more closely, hospitals, local authorities and care homes can ensure that people get the right care in the right place at the right time, and aren’t left waiting in hospital unnecessarily.”
In 2018, around a quarter of a million hospital bed days in England were taken up by people who were medically fit enough to be discharged but who faced delays in an appropriate care home being found that could meet their recovery needs.
The NHS, working with councils, reduced the number of lost bed days by 20% between 2017 and last year, and making the new tool more widely available is one of a number of measures being taken to reduce unnecessary delays to leaving hospital.
The digital portal is accessible on any device, and takes care homes just 30 seconds to upload details of their available beds, helping health and social care staff to find the right services for individual patients, including those with dementia or a learning disability.
Over 6,250 care homes have already signed up to the system, piloted in the North, Devon and Berkshire last year, and now thousands more can sign up to use it.