Following the meeting I had with my hon. Friend, we were pleased to facilitate meetings for the chief executives of the various councils and health bodies with officials from the Department of Health and Social Care and my Department. Those conversations have been very constructive, and I am pleased to tell my hon. Friend that the Social Care Minister and I would both be delighted to meet him and other MPs once the proposals have been fleshed out in detail.
I declare my interest as a member of Kettering Borough Council. There are still far too many patients in Kettering General Hospital and Northampton General Hospital who are classified as delayed transfers of care. They are mainly elderly patients whose medical treatment has been completed, but who face delays being put into the social care system. Does my hon. Friend agree that the reorganisation of local government in Northamptonshire presents a wonderful opportunity to create a social care and health pilot to combine these two services?
My hon. Friend is spot on. Delayed transfers of care undermine patients’ dignity while putting pressure on beds and costing the taxpayer money. Although we have seen fantastic progress nationally with delayed transfers of care halving since the peak, Northamptonshire is obviously not in that place. My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight the opportunity that greater integrated care could bring, and we are delighted to work with him and others to make that a reality.