Social services letting down the Health Services…

Kat Lay reports 14th April in the Times: Social services blamed for rise in hospital bed-blockers

Once the health and social services are combined throughout the UK, there will be no excuse for this situation remaining the same – which it will. Plus ca change.. Hard nosed discharges are all very well, but facing down hard nosed families who are aggressive is another matter..

The number of healthy patients stranded in hospital because of a lack of social care is at a record high, NHS figures show.

Some 37 per cent of patients who are taking up a bed are there because the care they need at home is not in place.

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NHS bosses say that many delays for which they are officially blamed should also be laid at the door of social services. If a community health service is full because it is unable to pass patients to social care, it cannot take new patients. A delay in this case is recorded as an NHS delay.

A snapshot in February showed that 6,797 patients were ready for discharge but still in hospital, down from 7,106 the month before. Delays due to social care were about the same, 2,504 compared with 2,498.

Compared with February last year, the number of delayed days attributable to social care rose by 32.8 per cent.

NHS England said the increase in delays to patients leaving hospital was equal to more than 1,150 beds being taken out of normal usage, compared with February last year.

Saffron Cordery, head of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, said: “This is not only a poor use of resources at a time of severe financial pressures, the delays often cause uncertainty, distress and worse outcomes for patients.”

Margaret Willcox, president-elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “While it is concerning that the number of delayed discharges attributable to social care has risen over the last year, it is encouraging to see there were 500 fewer delays in February because people were waiting for care packages in their own home than the previous month.”

The figures also showed the worst winter for emergency patients being admitted to NHS hospitals in England, with nearly 200,000 waiting at least four hours. From last December to February, 195,764 patients waited at least four hours — the NHS standard — to be admitted to hospital from A&E. The figure is the highest on record and marks a sharp rise on winter last year, when 134,576 patients missed the four-hour target.

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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