NHS England claims the portal will help to reduce avoidable lengthy stays in hospital.
A new digital portal is being introduced by the NHS and councils which allows health and social care staff to see how many vacancies there are in local care homes.
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.
NHS England says claims the portal will ‘save hours of time’ phoning around to check availability and helping people to get the right care or return home as quickly as possible.
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.
‘Right care in the right place at the right time’.
The roll-out of the tool will contribute to ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan to upgrade support to reduce avoidable long stays in hospital, including better sharing of information between care homes and hospital staff.
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.
“Working with our local government, hospitals and community services as well as patients and their families has been essential to developing this new approach and will be key to rolling it out everywhere.”