Plans to help older patients leave hospital at weekends have been signed off by Surrey County Council.
The go-ahead has been given for a new deal to be signed to provide equipment that helps people stay in their own homes for as long as possible.
Under the proposed contract signed off by the Cabinet items like walking aids, hoists and bath lifts can be installed on Saturdays as well as later on weekdays, making it easier for people to swap wards for home.
It is part of the council’s efforts to make the discharge process run more smoothly and limit the chances of a quick return which also include council social care staff in hospitals working over the weekend and late into weekday evenings.
The news comes as figures show that spending on equipment is on course to almost double in six years with the number of people being helped to remain at home rising from 22,000 to more than 27,100.
In 2010-11 the council spent £3.5 million on items for people’s homes and by the end of this financial year that figure is expected to have climbed to more than £6.2m.
By 2020 there will be 20,000 extra older people in Surrey and the council is spending an extra £20m each year addressing the growing demand for all types of care and support.
Mel Few, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “As we all know, just like everyone else older people want to stay in the comfort of their own home and communities, particularly after leaving hospital.
“This is very much part of our efforts to help them do that, while also helping to ease the strain on health and social services at a time when growing demand for elderly care means the council needs to spend an extra £20m each year.”
The contract with Millbrook Healthcare, which is being funded by the county council and Surrey’s six clinical commissioning groups, also includes a commitment to employ 10 apprentices.