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Following the announcement from the UK Government of a new £588 million fund to support rapid hospital discharges, stairlift specialist AAT GB’s director Peter Wingrave says that whilst the funding is welcome, investment in assistive technology solutions might be more effective.

The new half-a-billion-pound fund for the NHS means that the health service can provide up to six weeks of additional support so people can receive ongoing help with their recovery and rehabilitation after they leave the hospital, such as access to physiotherapy services.

Furthermore, the fund covers adult social care or the immediate costs of care in a person’s own home following discharge from hospital.

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However, whilst the new fund will help support rapid hospital discharges and give people ongoing care plans beyond acute settings, Peter Wingrave, Director of AAT GB, says that assistive technology could provide a more cost-effective and immediate alternative.

Responding to the new funding announcement, Peter commented: “The purpose of this welcome and necessary grant is to rapidly alleviate the bed blocking issue. However, just supplying the money won’t solve the problem. Why can we not change attitudes, and embrace technological advances that deliver fast, effective solutions?

“This would address the major issues highlighted in the Ombudsman’s report:  that all too often the adaptation process (DFG) is ‘ beset by delay’, and that a ‘well-run adaptation service can not only improve the lives of disabled people but …result in significant savings for local councils’.

“You might argue that the introduction of stairclimbers into the range of solutions provides that immediacy, best value and independence. It does so without the delay and disruption typical in a home adaptation. It adds value.

“All these benefits can be delivered via the only profession in the UK qualified to do it, namely Occupational Therapists. All it needs is a desire to progress, and embrace technology and solutions that can deliver without delay.”

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