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Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Act 2003

Section 4: Duties of responsible authority when section 2 has been given

19.This section applies when notice of likely need has been given under section 2 of the Act. The social services authority must then assess, and after consultation with the NHS body, determine what services they will provide for a patient or carer. Statutory requirements under this section, if not complied with, form part of the trigger for payment (see Section 6).

20.Subsection (2) requires that, following notification under section 2 from an NHS body, the social services authority must carry out an assessment in order to determine what community care services a patient will need in order for him to be safely discharged.

21.Subsection (3)(a) then provides that, in prescribed circumstances, the social services authority must also assess the needs of any carer of the patient for services necessary to make the patient’s discharge safe. Subsection (3)(b) provides that, having done this, the social services authority must consult the responsible NHS body before deciding what services to provide.

22.Subsection (4) provides that the circumstances mentioned in subsection 3 are that the carer requests an assessment or has had an assessment in the previous year.

23.Subsection (5) provides that the duty to assess and decide under subsection (2) or (3) applies whether or not the person’s need for community care services, or the carer’s need for services, has previously been assessed. This is to prevent provision of care services being based only on an existing assessment which may not have taken account of possible changes in the patient or carer’s circumstances and needs, although existing and unchanged information can still be used.

24.Subsection (6) requires the social services authority to keep under review the needs of patient and carer and the services they have decided to provide. Subsection (7) then allows the authority to change their decision about what services to provide to enable a safe discharge, so as to cover situations where the patient’s condition changes. This means that if a patient recovers more quickly than expected, the social services authority would not have to provide all the services they originally said they would, even though some of them were no longer needed. However, the authority will not be able to make such a change without first consulting the NHS body (subsection (8)).

25.Subsection (9) provides that any assessment carried out under subsection (2) is to be treated as assessment under section 47(1) of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990, although this assessment does not necessarily fulfil everything which needs to be done under section 47. Section 47 is the provision under which social services authorities assess a person’s need for community care services, and decide whether or not those needs call for the provision by the social services authority of any such services. Assessment under this Act is carried out for the purposes of determining what a patient needs in order to be discharged from hospital safely. The person may well need other community care services in the longer term, determination of which will require completion of a full section 47 assessment.

26.Subsection (10) provides that carers’ assessments carried out under subsection (3) are regarded as being carried out under the provisions of section 1 or 2 of the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000. The carers’ assessment under this section is carried out only for the purposes of determining what a carer needs in order for the patient to be discharged from hospital safely and further, fuller assessment may be required later.

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