Barbara has called on the Conservative Government to take urgent action to relieve the increasing pressure on the NHS caused by delays in older and vulnerable patients not being discharged from hospital. The delays are mainly due to waits for social and other care services.
Speaking at the launch of the ResPublica report Care After Cure: creating a fast track pathway from hospitals to homes, Barbara said that a sustainable system of funding for both the NHS and social care was needed to deal with the problem.
The ResPublica report found that over the past five years the NHS has spent over £2 billion caring for patients who are medically fit to leave hospital. ResPublica also forecasts that, over the next five years to 2020/2021, £3.2 billion will be spent by hospitals on acute care for patients who have no medical requirement to be there.
“The Government is failing to provide the funding for social and other care services that is needed to ease the mounting pressure on our NHS. It is welcome that ResPublica has looked at ways to reduce both delayed transfers of care and financial pressures on the NHS. By doing so they have highlighted the issues facing our vital health and social care services.
“It is worrying to hear that the NHS has spent large amounts of money caring for patients in hospitals who are medically fit to leave. The increasing numbers of bed days lost due to delayed transfers shows that our health and social care system is not working as well as it could be.
“An audit carried out at Salford Royal in November 2015 showed that of 658 patients, 243 were fit for discharge and 179 of those patients were a delayed discharge. Many patients have to stay in hospital because there are delays in accessing social care services. Salford council has had to make £15 million of cuts to adult social care since 2010 and the Conservative Government’s funding plans will not fill the funding gap they have created.
“Our NHS and social care services are under increasing financial pressure. If the Conservative Government continues to ignore these problems there is a real risk that the vital services on which older and vulnerable people rely could collapse. I will continue to call on Conservative Ministers to take the urgent action that is needed.”