A new digital tool allowing health and social care staff to see how many vacancies there are in local care homes will help to reduce avoidable lengthy stays in hospital.

The new digital portal is being introduced by the NHS and councils for people who need a care home placement, supporting to get out of hospital sooner. The portal is part of the NHS’ Long Term Plan, hoping to relieve pressure on the staff and system.

Over 6,250 care homes have already signed up to the system, which  is accessible on any device, and takes care homes just 30 seconds to upload details of their available beds, helping health and social care staff to find the right services for individual patients, including those with dementia or a learning disability.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England said: “One of the central ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan is to better support people to age well, and that means joining up different services locally to better meet people’s needs.

“By using this technology to work together more closely, hospitals, local authorities and care homes can ensure that people get the right care in the right place at the right time, and aren’t left waiting in hospital unnecessarily.

In 2018, around a quarter of a million hospital bed days in England were taken up by people who were medically fit enough to be discharged, but who faced delays in an appropriate care home being found that could meet their recovery needs.