Directly comparable figures are not available, but it is clear that in the past two years there has been a substantial increase in delayed discharge figures attributable to social care at the trust, which this year were among the worst currently being recorded across the NHS.
Sadly, those figures are no surprise, despite the well-managed New Cross hospital, because central Government have cut Wolverhampton City Council’s total income by almost 50% in the past six years. The primary care vertical integration pilot in Wolverhampton is a redesign of services so that a single organisation—the hospital trust—deals with patients from initial contact to ongoing management and end-of-life care. What steps is the Department of Health taking to support vertical integration as one potential way to improve care and lessen hospital admissions and delayed discharges?
The hon. Gentleman is right that budgets are part of the issue, which is why last week’s announcement about increased funding is important. However, funding alone does not explain the delayed transfers in Wolverhampton, which are five times worse than those of Telford, which is just down the road; twice as bad as Sandwell, which is very close; and, indeed, 30 times worse than the best performing councils, such as Newcastle, Knowsley and St Helens. With regard to his specific point about the vertically integrated pilot, this is a very exciting project and I commend the people of Wolverhampton for doing it. It is based on a model from Spain that has produced big results. We are watching it carefully and will support it as required.